Russia warns of asteroid threat

Sept. 5, 2008 at 3:30 PM
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MOSCOW, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Russia's top space official said international cooperation is needed to deal with the threat of an asteroid collision with the Earth.

Anatoly Perminov told the Russian newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda the threat is real and needs to be solved "through broad international cooperation" within the framework of the United Nations, RIA Novosti reported Friday.

A Moscow scientific conference has identified the 99942 Apophis, or Asteroid 2004 MN4, as the largest threat to Earth. The asteroid will be 22,400 miles from Earth in 2029 and there is concern it could end up on a collision course with planet in 2036, creating an explosion larger than the 1908 Tunguska explosion that felled more than 80 million trees in a 830-square-mile region of Siberia, RIA Novosti said.

While some researchers say the asteroids should be exploded before they reach Earth, other suggest a better method is to deflect the asteroids from their collision path.

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