NASA studying asteroid Bennu: Will it hit Earth in 2135?
NASA studying asteroid Bennu: Will it hit Earth in 2135?
DEADLY An asteroid could potentially destroy all life on Earth if it hit
21 March, 2018, 06:38
Bennu is more than five football fields in diameter and weighs 1,664 times more than the Titanic, according to the LLNL.
Though the odds are slim that the massive asteroid will hit Earth, in 1908, what is believed to be an asteroid crashed in Siberia with force 185 times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
If you're anxious, don't be (at least not much).
Recently, news has been circulating about how, apparently, NASAisn't going to be able to do anything to save us from asteroid Bennu when it crashes into the Earth in 2135.
That's right. Think "Armaggeddon" in real life.
On the other hand researchers from the LLNL says the nuclear deflection mission would nowhere look like any Hollywood sci-fi film, but it would involve detonating a nuclear explosive at a distance from the asteroid to vaporize part of the surface and create a rocket-like propulsion effect to alter its course, Cnet reports. The plan is called HAMMER, which stands for (deep breath) Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response.
But would it work to nudge Bennu off its course?
But for a large asteroid like Bennu, HAMMER would have to deploy a nuclear device to destroy it before it reaches Earth.
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If the asteroid, which is named Bennu, does decide to get a little too close to Earth for comfort, NASA could send a almost nine-ton "bulk impactor" to push it out of the Earth's orbit, The Washington Post reports.
Academics concluded that "using a single HAMMER spacecraft as a battering ram would prove inadequate for deflecting an object like Bennu".
So why study this to begin with?
Kirsten Howley, who is a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and co-author on the paper, said: "The chance of an impact appears slim now, but the consequences would be dire". With that said, we often don't have as much as 100 plus years of warning to prepare for an impact, which is why such a defense program is advantageous.
Nasa has been monitoring the enormous space rock since it was discovered in 1999, and has sent out a space probe to take samples.
University of Hawaii scientist David Trang is among those helping with that flight, which aims to gather important data about the behemoth of a celestial body.
In the interest of learning more about Bennu, an OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was launched around two years ago.
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