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Russia may deploy defensive spacecraft

This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Tuesday Dec. 15, 2009 shows hundreds of brilliant blue stars wreathed by warm, glowing clouds. The festive portrait is the most detailed view of the largest stellar nursery in our local galactic neighborhood. The massive, young stellar grouping, called R136, is only a few million years old and resides in the 30 Doradus Nebula, a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. There is no known star-forming region in our galaxy as large or as prolific as 30 Doradus. (Nasa Hubble Space Telescope)
This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Tuesday Dec. 15, 2009 shows hundreds of brilliant blue stars wreathed by warm, glowing clouds. The festive portrait is the most detailed view of the largest stellar nursery in our local galactic neighborhood. The massive, young stellar grouping, called R136, is only a few million years old and resides in the 30 Doradus Nebula, a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. There is no known star-forming region in our galaxy as large or as prolific as 30 Doradus. (Nasa Hubble Space Telescope)

This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Tuesday Dec. 15, 2009 shows hundreds of brilliant blue stars wreathed by warm, glowing clouds.

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 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.

Should the Russians intervene?




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Cindy Hval
Cindy Hval is a freelance columnist for the Voices neighborhood sections. Her Front Porch column appears twice a month in the Thursday Voice.