Science

Possibility For ‘Bennu’ Asteroid To Hit Earth In 2135

Bennu Asteroid To Hit earth
Buddy_Nath / Pixabay

There’s a possibility for an asteroid to hit Earth in 2135, but worry not, NASA has a plan to deal with it.

Asteroid To Hit Earth

Around September 23, 2135, there’s a chance for an asteroid to hit earth. The gigantic space rock is roughly the size of the Empire State building and will smack into Earth – destroying a lot of life on the planet.

While the possibility for an asteroid to hit Earth in 2135 is probably not something we ourselves have to worry about unless lifespans are to increase drastically as time goes on, it’s a looming issue that NASA has been developing a plan to deal with.

There’s only a small chance for the asteroid to hit Earth, but if the asteroid – named Bennu – decides to veer off its course and head towards an impact, the agency may be able to send a nine-ton “bulk impactor” into outer space to collide with the rock and avoid the damage we’d see if there was such a large asteroid to hit Earth. Another avenue is to nudge is away using a nuclear device, also saving us from the huge damage we’d see if an asteroid of that size were to land somewhere on Earth.

HAMMER

The scheme to negate the chances of this large asteroid to hit Earth is called the Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response – more easily referred to as HAMMER.

The scientists behind this mission have stressed that the possibility for the asteroid to hit Earth is incredibly small, and that we shouldn’t be panicking about some sort of extinction event – especially considering that we’ll likely be long gone by the time the threat becomes an actual possibility. Still, it never hurts to be prepared, and taking steps to be prepared now will protect us from Bennu as well as any other asteroids or space objects that crop up and threaten us here on earth.

To put it in perspective with actual numbers, the odds of Bennu hitting us are around 1 in 2700, and even if it were to happen the NASA team thinks they have it all figured out. Even if Bennu weren’t to crash into us, however, there are other practical applications that the HAMMER project could be a part of – namely as a line of defense moving into the future. Despite the astronomically low chances that this will actually be a problem, being prepared for both this incident and possible future occurrences is an important way that NASA can contribute to the entire world’s safety.

NASA actually has a Planetary Defense Coordination Office that is fully dedicated to detecting dangerous asteroids and comets close to Earth’s orbit, which is part of how we were aware of the potential threat of Bennu. 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.

OSIRIS-REx

In the interest of learning more about Bennu, an OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was launched around two years ago. According to NASA, it contains instruments intended to “map Bennu and establish the composition of the asteroid, including the distribution of the elements, minerals and organic materials.”

OSIRIS-REx should give us a better sense of the sorter threat we’re dealing with. If the results aren’t reassuring, a large spacecraft may be sent out to help reduce the possibility of an asteroid to hit Earth.

Long story short, you shouldn’t be worried too much about Bennu. The fact that the chances are estimated to be quite low, as well as the fact that an impact would happen over 100 years from now, should assuage your concerns. Still, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and NASA is on top of their game when it comes to implementing defense solutions that could save life on Earth from the devastating effects where an asteroid to hit Earth.