“If time were short and the asteroid was large, there may not be anything else that would work.”
But professor Koplow did explain how agreements like the Outer Space Treaty could pose problematic, leaving us currently still searching for a defensive answer.
He said: “There are two important treaties, both long-standing and joined by most pf the countries in the world, that specifically forbid the placement of nuclear weapons in orbit and the use of nuclear explosions in space.
“Suppose there is an asteroid coming and we do try to deflect it, but we are only partially successful, instead of hitting country A, it hits country B.
“There’s a treaty that imposes absolute liability if your space activity causes harm to another country.
“Overall, we’re not quite there yet in terms of a solution to these issues, but it’s better to think through these contingencies now, rather than later.”