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Scientists from MIPT conducted a training nuclear attack on asteroids

Researchers from Rosatom, the Russian Federal Nuclear Centre, and MIPT created small copies of chondritic asteroids in the laboratory, and then destroyed them with lasers. The nanosecond laser pulse served as an experimental substitute for a nuclear explosion. The experiments showed high efficiency of nuclear anti-asteroid defence, and also suggested the most effective ways of its implementation. The corresponding article is published in the Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Physics.
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Scientists used a laser as an imitation of a nuclear strike because it is impossible to conduct tests with a real nuclear weapon and a real meteorite. So, they created small copies of asteroids, only a few millimetres in diameter, and irradiated them with a laser. The power of the laser radiation for a small asteroid corresponded to the power of a nuclear explosion for a real asteroid, which could be hundreds and thousands of metres in size.

Scientists have found that to destroy a dangerous asteroid of up to 200 metres in diameter a power of about three megatons would be needed, i.e. it would be sufficient to use the power of currently available nuclear weapons. Although to destroy larger asteroids larger charges would be needed — more powerful than those that are currently in service.

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