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This is a fairly good summary of what would be needed to divert an asteroid, possible techniques for doing so, and the complications:

Note the quote from congressional testimony at the top of the article: a small mission typically takes four years to go from authorization to launch. In an asteroid impact situation we may not have four years. The spacecraft and launch vehicle needs to be ready when the asteroid is discovered. I don’t think we need to invent anything new here. We just need to build a large heavy-lift rocket, a spacecraft to intercept the asteroid, and have it all on standby in case it’s needed.

“Bombs” are weapons, and there are treaties in place banning nuclear weapons in space. However, you could make an argument that a nuclear explosive used to prevent an asteroid impact is not a weapon and thus is not covered by the treaty. This is probably something all the spacefaring nations and nuclear powers should work on together.

The Wikipedia article also notes that if you can nudge an asteroid to miss the earth, you can nudge an asteroid to hit the earth in a particular place. We definitely don’t want to weaponize asteroids. Again, the need for international cooperation.


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