mantis2009 writes: When it comes to stopping a cataclysmic Earth vs. asteroid event, social science and international political leaders have more difficult questions yet unanswered than physicists do, according to report delivered at this week's American Geophysical Union meeting. Wired has a discussion of an analysis authored by former astronaut Rusty Schweickart, who worries that the international community is nowhere near ready to begin the complex and inevitably controversial task of deflecting an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. Among the questions to be answered is whether to modify the Partial Test Ban Treaty to allow nuclear weapons in outer space. Another possibility to avoid the destruction of civilization would require the international community to choose an area on the globe where an asteroid might be "aimed." Who would decide which nations get placed in the asteroid's crosshairs?
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