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Russia interested in space missile defense system Kremlin source

RIA Novosti

18:31 18/10/2011 MOSCOW, October 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is interested in the so-called Strategic Earth Defense concept proposed by Russian NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin, a Kremlin source said on Tuesday.

“The president is familiar with this conception, it seemed interesting for him,” the source said.

Earlier on Tuesday Russian Kommersant daily reported that Russia was preparing to offer the United States and NATO a draft project for the joint defense system that would protect the Earth from asteroids and other threats from space.

Rogozin proposed the draft concept, Kommersant said.

However, Russian scientists are skeptical that missiles can protect Earth from asteroids.

“It is unlikely that existing missiles would be able to destroy an asteroid. We can currently reach only a few near-Earth asteroids…it is necessary to develop other ways of countering asteroid-comet threats,” Sergey Naroenkov of the Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences said.

The scientist also said that the destruction of the asteroids with the help of missiles is “the most extreme option, when no other is available” since the missile may not totally destroy the space object, but break it into fragments that are even more harmful than the intact asteroid.

He said that the Earth's atmosphere is able to protect the planet from the space objects with a diameter under 30 meters. Larger asteroids can reach the surface and cause damage, Naroenkov said.

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