Dr Rivkin said: “In the case of asteroids, ‘reflective plastic covers rock’.

“Sunlight bouncing off a plastic-wrapped asteroid could increase solar radiation pressure, giving it the gentlest of nudges.

“Another rock ‘cover’ could be paint. If you paint it white, you increase the reflection of sunlight, just like with the plastic wrap.

“If you paint it black, the asteroid would absorb more sunlight and heat up.

“As the asteroid spins, its shadowed side cools, and this radiation of heat would literally provide a light push.”


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