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October 28 2012

How Paintballs Could Save Earth from Giant Asteroid Impact


An epic battle between paintballs and a giant asteroid could one day save the Earth from an apocalyptic space rock impact.

The novel asteroid-deflecting scheme proposes that a cloud of paintballs shot into space could knock a dangerous asteroid off a collision course with Earth.

Sung Wook Paek, an MIT graduate student, says a spacecraft could fire two rounds of pellets full of white paint powder at an asteroid to cover as much of the rock's surface as possible. The strategy, unveiled Friday (Oct. 26), won the 2012 Move an Asteroid Technical Paper Competition, sponsored by the United Nations' Space Generation Advisory Council.

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