There’s a chance that on Sept 21, 2135, a massive space rock impacts Earth. Researchers found that it might be impossible to stop a 500-meter wide asteroid from impacting our planet. It has been warned that even NASA’s most advanced technology could prove futile against such a threat. However, in order to deal with the problem, scientists have detailed a plan called HAMMER. In the proposal scientists from NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration say a spacecraft could be used as an ‘impactor’ to deflect an object. However, experts warn that if there isn’t enough time, it would be better to nuke it.
According to a chilling scientific report, NASA won’t be able to stop a massive 500-meter wide asteroid that could impact Earth, bringing an end to civilization.
Researchers have discovered that it could be impossible to stop the massive comic rock, which is the size of the Empire State building, from impacting Earth in 2135, reports Daily Mail.
There’s a 1-in-2,700 chance that this will indeed happen, on Sept. 21, 2135, BuzzFeed News reported.
As noted by experts, even out most advanced technology would prove useless for deflecting a space rock of such size.
According to Robert Marcus, H. Jay Melosh, and Gareth Collins from the Earth Impact Effects Program, an asteroid with a diameter of 500 meters can be expected to impact Earth about every 130,000 years.
A scientific study performed in 2015 has shown that the highest impact probability for a planet is with Venus (26%), followed by the Earth (10%) and Mercury (3%). The odds of Bennu striking Mars are only 0.8% and there is a 0.2% chance that Bennu will eventually collide with Jupiter.
Scientists say that if such a rock would impact Earth, it would have terrible consequences for our planet, and the asteroid and its collision course have sparked fears it could wipe out civilization on Earth.
Scientists have calculated if an impact were to occur, the expected kinetic energy associated with the collision would be 1200 megatons in TNT equivalent
In order to avoid a civilization-ending scenario on Earth, experts are looking for ideas that could help them stop such a massive space rock from impacting our planet. So far, scientists are looking into the possibility of using a special spacecraft to ‘nuke’ asteroids such as Bennu, in hope that it could deflect the asteroid, altering its collision course.
HAMMERing it seems to be the best bet.
Scientists from NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration have come up with a plan called HAMMER; Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response. Using a spacecraft that would act as an ‘imapctor’ NASA would slam an object into the oncoming space rock hoping to deflect it.
HAMMER is a nine-meter, 8.8-ton spacecraft that could be used to approach an asteroid and blow it up using a nuclear device, notes BuzzFeed.
Currently, the massive space rock is about 84 million kilometers from Earth and is moving slowly around the orbit of the sun, but since the orbits of the planets are not round, there is a point where it would pass relatively close to Earth.
NASA wants to take this opportunity to study the asteroid and possibly discover information about the origin of the universe, the formation of the planets and, if possible, determine where we come from.
Will the remains of an ancient Prometheus type civilization be buried there? Probably not, but we can still learn a lot about the universe.
Anyway. NASA has devised a plan around a potential impact with the 500-meter asteroid, which is currently the destination for NASA’s Osiris-Rex sample return mission.
Despite the fact that Earth isn’t in direct threat by Bannu, and it isn’t expected to impact Earth anytime soon, scientists say here’s a 1 in 2,700 chance it will slam into our planet sometime next century.
Luckily, Bennu happens to be the best-studied asteroids of all Near Earth Objects (NEOs).
‘The two realistic responses considered are the use of a spacecraft functioning as either a kinetic impactor or a nuclear explosive carrier to deflect the approaching NEO,’ the authors wrote in the study, published to the journal Acta Astronautica.
But there’s always a ‘but’.
“Whenever practical, the kinetic impactor is the preferred approach, but various factors, such as large uncertainties or short available response time, reduce the kinetic impactor’s suitability and, ultimately, eliminate its sufficiency,” the authors wrote.
As for HAMMER, mankind’s savior spacecraft does not yet exist, and at the moment it’s just a theory, but NASA knows it’s something they have to consider in the future, and hopefully, it will be ready before Bennu gets too close.
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