NASA is working on a plan to stop an asteroid that could hit Earth

NASA has announced that it is working on a plan to stop an asteroid that has a chance of hitting the Earth over 100 years from now. The asteroid is said to be the size of the Empire State Building and has a "small" chance of impacting the Earth on September 22, 2135. NASA says that it has a plan to stop the asteroid should it turn out to be on a collision course.

The asteroid in question is called Bennu and the plan involves sending something that weighs nearly 9 tons dubbed the "bulk impactor" to push the asteroid out of Earth orbit. Apparently, another option is to use a nuclear device to push the asteroid out of Earth's path.

The plan is called Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response. It also has the requisite NASA acronym HAMMER. A NASA engineer called Brent W. Barbee helped author the study on the mission is clear that this is all theoretical for now. In other words, the asteroid may pose zero risk to our planet.

If you are the sort that likes to know the odds, the chance of Bennu hitting Earth some 100 plus years in the future are about 1 in 2700. The big deal here is that NASA is putting a plan in motion that could be used to swat asteroids away from Earth if needed.

This is important as one of the most devastating asteroid impacts in recent history happened in 1908 with an asteroid impact near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia. That impact was as powerful as 185 Hiroshima atomic bombs and flattened 80 million trees and burned hundreds of reindeer to charcoal. Had it smacked into a populated area like London or New York, the devastation is unthinkable. NASA plans further study of Bennu with OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft having been on its way to the asteroid for two years for a comprehensive study.

SOURCE: The Washington Post