Chinese astronomers are proposing sending spacecraft up to ward off asteroids that may be headed on a collision course with Earth.
Researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing propose using a spacecraft propelled by solar sails, giant mirrors flying through space on the force of sunlight reflecting off them.
A slight shove at the near-Earth asteroid Apophis in 2029 would prevent it from falling into a course to hit Earth in 2036, they say.
The impact velocity can be as high as 100 kilometers per second (223,700 mph), which is much higher than the impact velocity of a regular spacecraft, which is about 30 kilometers per second (67,100 mph), Space.com quoted study lead author Shengping Gong at Tsinghua University saying.
The second potential plan involves smashing a spacecraft into an asteroid to deflect it completely. The suggestion has been made by researchers at the European Space Agency mission called Don Quijote.
Space.com reported that the mission involves two probes: One would smash into its target asteroid at more than 30,000 mph (48,000 kph), while the other would orbit the asteroid six months beforehand to observe its behavior before and after impact.