Earth's scientists couldn't stop NASA's killer asteroid

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A test to see if scientists could stop an asteroid from hitting the planet ended badly.

1. Dark of space, Earth in distance, suddenly NASA's hypothetical asteroid appears, on course for Earth
2. Scientists discuss big screen showing asteroid's estimated course going through Earth
3. In space, satellite moves to intercept, smashes into side of asteroid
4. Animation of impact on big screen, flashing course prediction line moves slightly to miss Earth
5. Nuclear missile flying in space, zoom out to show missile explode next to rock
6. Nuclear explosion billows out, animated version on big screen shows course line moves slightly to miss Earth

VOICEOVER (in English):
NASA reports that it recently hosted a test to see if Earth's best scientists could stop an asteroid from hitting the planet.

In the scenario, a fictitious asteroid was detected six months before it would hit Earth. The participants in the simulation considered various missions in which spacecraft could try to destroy the asteroid or deflect it off its path.

Most options to deflect an asteroid — such as deflection via a high-energy impact, or a "gravity tractor" or an "ion beam shepherd" — work by only slightly nudging the targeted space rock.

If performed far enough in advance, that small nudge builds up to become a large shift in position by the time the asteroid gets near Earth.

But participants concluded that such missions wouldn't be able to get off the ground in the short amount of time before impact.

However, they found that using a rocket to deliver a nuclear explosion on or next to the asteroid, could save the Earth.

Unfortunately, a nuclear bomb would only be able to make a difference if the asteroid was relatively small, compared to the giants that had hit Earth in the past.

SOURCES: The Independent, Business Insider, SciTechDaily