Russians to go all Michael Bay on approaching asteroid

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

Not content with sending robot-assisted monkeys to Mars, the Russians are looking into yet another mission that will bring sci-fi into outer space—an Armageddon-like plan to knock a large asteroid off course and reduce the chances of ... well ... armageddon.

Anatoly Perminov, the chief of Russia's Federal Space Agency, is assessing a mission to Apophis, a 885-foot asteroid discovered in 2004 that reportedly has a 1-in-37 chance smashing into Earth on its first flyby in 2029, Yahoo news reported. U.S. scientists say such a scenario is unlikely. NASA had estimated the chances that Apophis would hit Earth in 2036 at 1 in 45,000, and in October, after researchers recalculated the asteroid's path, the agency changed its estimate to 1 in 250,000.

Still, Perminov plans to move ahead. "People's lives are at stake," he said. "We should pay several hundred million dollars and build a system that would allow us to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people."

After robots and monkeys and now this, what could be next for the spacefaring Russians? Going hunting for Aliens and Predators?

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