Russia Wants to Test ICBMs Against a Near-Earth Asteroid
Russian scientists want to modify existing intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver a nuclear warhead to obliterate near-earth asteroid that could threaten Earth.
The scientists plan to test their missiles on the asteroid 99942 Apophis, which according to Sabit Saitgarayev, the leading researcher at the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau, may pass “dangerously close” to Earth in 2036.
Their decision to use an ICBM has to do with the fuel, as Sabit Saitgarayev explained to TASS, a Russian news agency:
“Most rockets work on boiling fuel. Their fueling begins 10 days before the launch and, therefore, they are unfit for destroying meteorites similar to the Chelyabinsk meteorite in diameter, which are detected several hours before coming close to the Earth. For this purpose, intercontinental ballistic missiles can be used, which requires their upgrade,” the scientist said.
Discovered in 2004, the asteroid which they want to fire on is the size of three-and-a-half football fields and had a 2.7% possibility of an Earth impact, but the possibility was later ruled out.
The Makeyev Design Bureau specializes in long-range rockets. The company is also engaged in scientific research and developments to create rocket and space systems, as well as space vehicles and their units and parts.