As a large asteroid heads closer and closer to Earth, NASA is busy coming up with ideas to safeguard the planet from destruction. The asteroid named Bennu has a 1 in 2,700 chance of crashing into Earth on September 21, 2135, so NASA is planning to destroy it with nuclear bombs before it can reach Earth.
While the odds of Bennu striking Earth are low, NASA still wants to err on the side of caution and neutralize the potential threat while it is at a safe distance. NASA thinks they can destroy it with nuclear bombs to ensure the planet Earth's survival. The Bennu asteroid is currently orbiting the Sun at about 54 million miles from Earth.
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It weighs in at around 74 billion pounds and is 1,600 feet wide. The close flyby past Earth is scheduled for September 2135 and even the small chance of it hitting Earth is enough to prompt NASA to find a solution to avoid potential disaster. The National Nuclear Security Administration and two Energy Department weapon labs are working with NASA to design and develop a spacecraft called HAMMER to deliver the nuclear payload.
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HAMMER stands for Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response. According to NASA, the HAMMER would be able to deliver the nukes to the asteroid. NASA is also considering other ways to divert Bennu from reaching Earth. If the asteroid were small enough, the HAMMER would be able to destroy it with an 8.8-ton "impactor" that could smash the asteroid.
If the asteroid is too big for the impactor, the HAMMER will destroy it will nuclear bombs before it can reach our planet. Testing of the HAMMER spacecraft is scheduled to being in mid-October where it will be placed in various altitudes to expose different parts of the SRC to direct sunlight and initiate outgassing.
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