British Plan to tackle Asteroids.
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Posted 01 September 2009 - 08:54 AM
A team of British scientists are developing plans for a spacecraft that could stop large asteroids from destroying the Earth. The 10 tonne "gravity tractor" would deflect any orbiting rocks years before any potential collision could happen. The device, which would rely on the force of gravity, is being developed by Stevenage space company, EADS Astrium.
However the idea is still in its early stages and the company admits a prototype has not yet been made. NASA's Near Earth Object Programme reports on its website that it has recorded 1068 known "Potentially Hazardous Asteroids", however there are thousands more estimated to be present in space.
Dr Ralph Cordey, who is EADS Astrium's head of exploration and business told the BBC that the concept of a tug was actually first mooted by two Nasa astronauts, Edward Lu and Stanley Love, a few years ago. He said: "Frankly I thought it was crackers. I thought it would never work."
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