Viktor Remishevsky, deputy head of the Federal Space Agency, said his country was ready to build rockets to tackle any comets and meteors on course to hit us, the ITAR-TASS Russian news agency reports.
But he said new defensive tools needed to be developed to help combat the cosmic threat. He said: “The Russian missile industry is capable of manufacturing anti-asteroid systems if necessary. But so far, there are no techniques to use the existing space machinery for fighting asteroids.”
He added: “If a method of suppressing this danger with space machinery is found, we will make such systems. The missile industry can do that.”
Russian experts have identified around 400 asteroids and more than 30 comets that could endanger Earth in the future. They are worried about asteroid 2907, which is nearly a mile in diameter, and could strike the Earth on December 16, 2880. Scientists have also still not been able to rule out a collision with a space rock called 99942 Apophis in 2036.
Last year, Congress ordered Nasa to spend $20 million a year on a major operation to protect Earth from asteroids. They were instructed to focus on finding and tracking all space rocks 100 metres or more wide. They were also told to devise methods of deflecting any threatening Armageddon.
Congress said their goal must be to catalogue and monitor 90 per cent of hazardous asteroids by 2015.
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