It sounds like the movie “Armageddon” — an asteroid is hurtling towards Earth, and we have to stop it before it smacks into the planet and causes massive destruction.
Turns out that astronomers have their eyes on one such asteroid that will come close — in space terms — in April, 2036. However, unlike the movie, where they became aware of the danger just a few weeks before possible impact, our scientists are already on the case and coming up with ideas on how to deal with this asteroid and any others that might eventually be on a collision course with Earth.
Today I called upon astronaut Dr. Ed Lu, a space veteran who has logged more than 200 days in orbit. Ed is one of those developing solutions for this problem, including a so-called Gravity Tractor, which sounds like something they used on a “Star Trek” episode or two.
I met Ed last year at James Randi’s “Amazing Meeting,” where they talked about how Randi had helped Ed become the first person to do a card trick in space, while Ed was aboard the International Space Station in 2003. Randi explained that experience here (scroll halfway down for the details).