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Astronaut seeks craft to bump asteroids

Cosmic/Space News: Hawaii, USA
Jan 23, 2007
HONOLULU - NASA astronaut and former University of Hawaii solar physicist Edward Lu is calling for a new spacecraft that would divert asteroids on a path to slam into Earth.
The small space tractor, costing between $200 million and $300 million, would hover near an asteroid to exert enough gravitational pull that the space rock's orbit would change and a collision with our planet would be averted, Lu said before a crowd packed into a 300-capacity auditorium at the University of Hawaii-Manoa Monday night.

"We're only trying to get a really tiny change in the velocity of the asteroid to prevent an impact," he said.

Lu was part of a panel including three Hawaii scientists who characterized the chances of an asteroid colliding with Earth as rare but deserving of the same level of attention as major earthquakes, tsunamis and hurricanes.

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