March 5, 2007 3:00 AM

Experts think a `gravity tug' might ward off asteroid

NASA and the Air Force are studying ways to ward off a medium-sized asteroid that will streak within 18,000 miles of Earth in 2029 and has an extremely slight chance of crashing into our planet in 2036. Ideas discussed at a Planetary Defense Conference here this week include a gravity tug or space tractor that would hover near the space rock and tow it into a safe orbit. Other possibilities include a head-on collision with an unmanned spaceship or a nuclear explosion.

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