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Bill Nye Tells Us How to Stop an Asteroid

by Kenny Hoeschen

Although there are a lot of asteroids in our Solar System, the chances of dying from an asteroid landing on your head is 74,817,414:1. Even Bruce Willis doesn’t spend his free time suited up and ready to spring into action to prevent an imminent asteroid collision. Fortunately, the vast majority of asteroids are small and burn up in the atmosphere.

But what if there was a giant asteroid on a collision course with Earth? Would we be able to stop it, even with Bruce Willis at the ready? Bill Nye and AsapSCIENCE take a look what could happen. First, we’d need to build a spacecraft to detect these biggest asteroids; the potential “city killers.” Then we’ve got to deflect an incoming asteroid by just a tiny amount: by about a 10 millionth of its total speed, which still requires substantial force. We could use a rocket to blow it up, or get a large, massive rocket near the asteroid to pull it with gravity, or zap it with thousands of tiny, solar-powered lasers. Or send Bruce Willis.

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