They would use intercontinental ballistic missiles to send the nukes outside the Earth's atmosphere.
Russians are working on an ambitious project to upgrade their nuclear missiles in a way that would enable them to shoot meteorites that threaten the Earth.
They would use intercontinental ballistic missiles to send the nukes outside the Earth’s atmosphere, but it won’t be an easy or cheap project, according to a Daily Mail report.
The plan is to test the missiles on asteroid 99942 Apophis, which is supposed to pass “dangerously close” to the Earth in 2036 (it has no chance of hitting us, however).
The missiles would be able to destroy meteorites that are between 20 meters and 50 meters in size, so they are certainly limited in their capabilities, but would at least provide the planet with some sort of space defense.
The asteroid in question was discovered in 2004 and is actually a good bit larger than 50 meters. Initially, it was given a 2.7 percent chance of impacting Earth, but NASA later ruled it out entirely.
It’s not a sure thing that this Russian plan will ever materialize, as it’s merely a conceptual proposal at this point. It would certainly be a costly project and there would be safety and feasibility questions.
NASA has an office specifically dedicated to tracking objects that pose a threat to Earth. Called the Near-Earth Object Observations Program, and sometimes referred to as “Spaceguard,” the office works to look for objects that would be dangerous to Earth and tracks their orbits to see if they could be hazardous to the planet.