Should an approaching asteroid represent a possible collision risk to the Earth, officials say the United States could be ready to respond — with an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Several federal agencies are reportedly considering the feasibility of keeping some nuclear warheads that are no longer considered necessary for the national defense as possible protections against asteroids on a collision course with the Earth.

The proposal was revealed in a Government Accountability Office report on the federal agency responsible for America’s nuclear weapons, the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is planning on dismantling a portion of the country’s Cold War nuclear arsenal.

While that dismantling is underway there are plans to keep some warheads “pending a senior-level government evaluation of their use in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids,” the GOA report said.

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