I just ran across this article talking about prospects for stopping an asteroid, specifically debunking the scenario presented in the movie Armageddon of using a nuke to split it in half.
Here's a relevant passage from my book:
“Despite all the holo-movies you might have seen where they destroy the asteroid before it hits the Earth and everyone lives happily ever after, it isn’t possible with the technology and time we have available. To nudge the asteroid off course we have to hit it far enough out that we would need to launch now. Problem is we don’t have anything with the range and payload required....”I think this quote from the article nicely captures my philosophy:
“Can’t we just nuke the damn thing when it gets closer to Earth?”
“Yes sir we can, but we risk turning a single very large asteroid into multiple asteroids, each still plenty big enough to wipe out a large city. Better to have only one object to track and to limit the impact to a single location.”
...fiction is all about the make-believe. But good science can make for a more plausible narrative, making it easier to suspend disbelief.