Blowing Up Asteroids: The Latest Excuse to Keep Nuclear Stockpiles?

Douglas Birch, “Blowing Up Asteroids: The Latest Excuse to Keep Nuclear Stockpiles?,” Center for Public Integrity, 16 October 2013

“It was a really bizarre thing to see that these weapons designers were willing to work together—to build the biggest bombs ever,” said Melosh, an expert in space impacts who has an asteroid named after him.

Ever since, he has been pushing back against scientists who still support the nuclear option, arguing that a non-nuclear solution—diverting asteroids by hitting them with battering rams—is both possible and far less dangerous.

But Melosh’s campaign suffered a setback last month when Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz signed an agreement with Russia that could open the door to new collaboration between nuclear weapons scientists in everything from plutonium-fueled reactors to lasers and explosives research. Continue reading