With 20 years’ notice, paint pellets could cause an asteroid to veer off course.
An artist's rendering of the
Image: European Space Agency
In the event that a giant asteroid is headed toward Earth, you’d better
hope that it’s blindingly white. A pale asteroid would reflect sunlight —
and over time, this bouncing of photons off its surface could create
enough of a force to push the asteroid off its course.
one encourage such a deflection? The answer, according to an MIT
graduate student: with a volley or two of space-launched paintballs.