DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Asteroid deflection. Artwork of an asteroid wrapped in a reflective material. Over a period of months and years, light photons from the Sun are focused onto the reflective material and exert enough pressure on the asteroid to alter its trajectory. Asteroids are minor planets with diameters of less than 100 kilometres. A collision on Earth would cause massive tsunamis 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. An asteroid, comet or other large body posing a danger to Earth is known as a Near-Earth Object (NEO).
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