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""NASA on a mission to repel asteroid"
By Jonathan Leake in London
December 26, 2006 12:52am
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NASA is drawing up a shortlist of ideas, to be unveiled early next year, for diverting a 40 million tonne asteroid on course to pass dangerously close to Earth.
Fears that the planet may be in danger from being struck by asteroids were heightened by the discovery of one orbiting the sun that, on its present path, will pass within 35,405km - a hair's breadth in astronomical terms - in April 2029.
NASA's plan is to engineer a minor shift in the asteroid's trajectory that would make it miss Earth by a wider margin on this and all subsequent passes.