Entered into the second phase of the development of a unique project of nuclear interceptor asteroid Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle (HAIV).
This is a NASA program aimed at creating technologies that could save the Earth from the devastating asteroid impact. HAIV will be a spacecraft that is due to the kinetic energy will penetrate deep into the asteroid, and then work a nuclear bomb. The asteroid will be destroyed or moved out of the path. The majority of the debris will disperse to the sides and will not pose a serious danger to our planet.
Despite the uncertainties associated with the use of nuclear weapons, HAIV an effective way of destruction of small asteroids. HAIV technologies enable you to respond to the threat quickly — in less than 10 years prior to the projected impact that distinguishes them from other projects against asteroids.
In the second phase of the project, NASA's attempt to develop a mission HAIV architecture and its possible embodiments of the forces of space agencies and other organizations.
Spacecraft HAIV will directly intercept the asteroid, such as the U.S. missile defense interceptor EKV. Technology guidance in the initial phases of the trajectory and homing using optical systems in the terminal phase of the flight already worked out, but there are problems. The design speed of the meeting HAIV an asteroid is about 10-30 km / s. But HAIV not only enough kinetic energy to destroy the asteroid. Therefore HAIV need to delve into the surface of the asteroid, and only then detonate the bomb. However, current technology does not allow to reliably undermine the nuclear device at penetration into solid rock at speeds of over 300 m / s — just blow destroy the components of the bomb and the explosion will not occur.
The proposed interceptor HAIV will have a special detachable nose (leading machine) that an asteroid will strike in the "hole" necessary for safe entering the back of the interceptor with a nuclear bomb.
According to specialists NASA, the 300-kt nuclear explosion at a depth of 3 m is equivalent to a 6-megaton explosion on the surface of the asteroid. Thus, the interceptor with penetrating warhead can solve the same problem with a smaller force of a nuclear explosion.