Brid-Aine Parnell in The Register on some of the technologies being explored to reduce or eliminate the chance of unpleasantly close encounters with celestial objects:
A new international consortium has been set up to figure out what Earthlings could do if an asteroid came hurtling towards the planet on a path of imminent destruction.
The project will look at three methods of averting disaster: the Hollywood-sanctioned solutions of sending up a crack team of deep drillers with a nuclear bomb to sort it out, or frantically hurling of all our nukes at it; dragging it to safety with a Star Trek-inspired tractor beam; or hitting it with something we have more control over, like a spaceship.
Sporting the cool moniker NEOShield, the project will explore the possibilities for kinetic impactors, gravity tractors and blast deflection as ways to save our planet from oblivion.
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“In the light of results arising from our research into the feasibility of the various mitigation approaches and the mission design work, we aim to formulate for the first time a global response campaign roadmap that may be implemented when an actual significant impact threat arises,” NEOShield boldly stated.