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Monday 29th August 2016
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How would we stop a meteorite hitting Earth?


If a meteorite was heading towards Earth, what could we do to stop it? Are there official measures in place?
Ali, Russell Square


** Definitive **
Name: Paul, Hampshire
Qualification: Lots of reading
Answer: Most meteorites do burn up on entry into our atmosphere and are usually the size of a golf ball when they land. There are a number of specialists whose job is to try to find these meteorites when they land. Most land in the sea. In the unlikely case of a meteorite being big enough to end human life – and there are meteorites the size of the O2 Arena – some governments have spent money on research for how to stop these. The best we would be able to hope for is to knock it off its course and hope it misses us. We’d do this with a nuclear blast that didn’t actually hit it. But there are no big plans in place.