Asteroid deflection, spraying white paint

Asteroid deflection, spraying white paint

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This image is part of the feature Killer Asteroid

Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Asteroid deflection. Artwork of a spacecraft (top right) spraying white paint onto the side of an asteroid. Over a period of months and years, light photons from the Sun are focused onto the reflective paint and exert enough pressure on the asteroid to alter its trajectory. Asteroids are minor planets with diameters of less than 100 kilometres. A collision with Earth would cause massive tsunamis if it hit the oceans and block sunlight due to the huge quantities of dust thrown in to the stratosphere. It is thought that the extinction of the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago was caused by an asteroid impact.

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