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"We will soon hold a closed meeting of our collegium, the science-technical council to look at what can be done" to prevent the asteroid Apophis from slamming into the planet in 2036, Anatoly Perminov told Voice of Russia radio.
"We are talking about people's lives," Perminov was quoted by news agencies as telling the radio station.
"Better to spend a few hundred million dollars to create a system for preventing a collision than to wait until it happens and hundreds of thousands of people are killed," he said.
The Apophis asteroid measures approximately 350 metres (1,150 feet) in diameter and RIA Novosti news agency said that if it were to hit Earth when it passes nearby in 2036 it would create a new desert the size of France.
By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press Writer – Wed Dec 30, 9:34 pm ET
MOSCOW – Russia's space agency chief said Wednesday a spacecraft may be dispatched to knock a large asteroid off course and reduce the chances of earth impact, even though U.S. scientists say such a scenario is unlikely.
Anatoly Perminov told Golos Rossii radio the space agency would hold a meeting soon to assess a mission to Apophis. He said his agency might eventually invite NASA, the European Space Agency, the Chinese space agency and others to join the project.
When the 270-meter (885-foot) asteroid was first discovered in 2004, astronomers estimated its chances of smashing into Earth in its first flyby, in 2029, at 1-in-37.
Russia in secret plan to save Earth from asteroid: official