An asteroid the size of the Empire State Building could see a collision with the planet Earth in the near future. What are we going to do to defend ourselves? Well according to scientists, nothing.
The asteroid, called Bennu, is estimated to measure 500 metres in diameter – as wide as five football pitches. An impact of this magnitude would yield the equivalent of 80,000 “Little Boy” bombs, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the tail end of World War II.
No means of defence
While NASA has prepared certain countermeasures to defend the planet in the event of an asteroid impact, nothing in their current arsenal is adequate to deflect Bennu. The current means of defence, HAMMER, is an 8.8 tonne vessel which would be launched directly into the asteroid, to either change its trajectory or blow it up entirely. In its current form, HAMMER would only put a dent in mammoth Bennu. Scientists are proposing that nuking the asteroid may be the only course of action.
If you’re starting to panic about the incoming end of the world, don’t worry: the good news is the asteroid currently only has a 1 in 2,700 chance of colliding with Earth and it wouldn’t occur until 2135. However, those chances are increasing with time according to scientists. Guess we’ll wait and see, right?
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