NASA is now developing a contingency plan to destroy the asteroid named Bennu which is currently thrusting toward the Earth. Well, it is true that NASA is working on every possible plan to nuke the asteroid. As per the report, Bennu will pass close to earth in 2135 and the hitting chances are like 1 in 2,700. Brent W. Barbee, NASA aerospace engineer stated, “We’re doing these design studies to prepare ourselves, so if we do find a threatening object, we’re better prepared to deal with it.” The 487 meters and 74-billion-pound asteroid can produce around 1.15 gigaton power which is 23 times bigger than the atomic bomb. As per NASA, it is the biggest asteroid discovered ever by scientists.
For this, NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has developed a spacecraft that can deflect the asteroids. NASA named that spacecraft as HAMMER. It has two modes. It can collide with the asteroid to nudge it out of the orbit or it can detonate a nuclear weapon to destroy Bennu. The 8.8 tons spacecraft when will collide with the asteroid at a speed of 22,000 miles per hour, can produce a lot of force.
Space is full of space debris and when they enter Earth’s atmosphere they usually break up. But, massive asteroids like Bennu can be a threat to earth. So, to get a detailed idea on Bennu, NASA has sent the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. The spacecraft will measure Bennu and will examine the composition of the asteroid, like its elements, minerals and more. It will bring a 2.1-ounce sample to Earth. OSIRIS-REx will send the sample in 2023. However, the asteroid may collide with earth on 22nd September 2135. So, NASA has plenty of time to think about it and may come up with an effective plan to tackle the situation.