A NEO or Asteroid’s path can be changed by Blast Deflection method of using nuclear or non-nuclear ways.
There are a number of ways an asteroid’s path can be changed by using an explosion of some kind and the NEOShield project will explores a range of these options.
Some of the investigated ideas are summarized below.
Nuclear blast deflection
Possibly the most effective – yet controversial – method of deflecting the largest asteroids that could hit our planet.
This technique requires the use of a nuclear explosive close to an asteroid. The blast causes the outer layers of the asteroid to evaporate, acting just like rocket fuel, pushing the asteroid away from its original Earth-bound trajectory.
This is very different to the usual picture used in Hollywood of asteroids being blown up.
Contrary to blowing up an asteroid this approach does not create multiple fragments which could still individually impact Earth.
It is therefore thought to be a much safer and more effective way of safeguarding the Earth.
Explosive materials carry a lot of energy for a given amount of mass to an asteroid – energy which can be used to move it from its course towards Earth.
Standard explosives could be used to impart small or medium nudges to an asteroid following an initial kinetic impact, for example.
The more material we can throw off an asteroid, the more effective the method of deflection tends to be. Burying an explosive before setting it off may be a good way to achieve this.
These are just some of the concepts related to blast deflection that are looked at by the NEOShield project.