New Delhi : In a bid save Earth from an asteroid collision, US-based space agency NASA is planning a new spacecraft called HAMMER (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response).
Armed with nuclear weapons, the spacecraft will keep an eye on an asteroid that could put humanity in danger.
"If the asteroid is small enough, and we detect it early enough, we can do it with the impactor," said physicist David Dearborn of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
"The impactor is not as flexible as the nuclear option when we really want to change the speed of the body in a hurry."
Earth faces the latest danger from an asteroid named Bennu which has one in 2700 chance of colliding with Earth on September 21, 2135. Though it won’t be enough to wipe out humans from Earth, but capable of causing a severe damage to Earth.
The HAMMER team estimate the energy unleashed if Bennu hit Earth would be 23 times bigger than the biggest hydrogen bomb ever exploded.
Dr Lauretta is heading a mission to send a probe to Bennu in 2023, and bring back samples for study. The total amount of money involved in the project is yet to be unveiled.
The asteroid Bennu will come very close to Earth in September 2135 and NASA scientists predict that there might be a chance of collision of the asteroid with Earth. Currently, Bennu is orbiting the Sun at about 54 million miles away from Earth. The asteroid is about 1,600 foot wide and weighs around 74 billion pounds.