Is apocalypse inevitable? NASA's nuke plan not fit to stop asteroid Bennu, says study


An asteroid named Bennu, which is of the size of the Empire State building, is heading toward earth, and it may crash into our planet in 2135. Earlier, it has been reported that NASA has plans to nuke the asteroid to avoid its collision with earth.

But now, a study conducted by the researchers at the US national planetary defense team has revealed that the nuclear plans to destroy Bennu may not fetch the desired results.

Hammer not sufficient enough for Bennu?

NASA's 'Hammer' spacecraft is the key player to deviate the path of malignant asteroids which approach the earth. However, experts believe that the 'Hammer' spacecraft will not be sufficient enough to move a large asteroid like Bennu off its path. Scientists also believe that the idea of blasting the asteroid with nuclear weapons is not a great choice, as earth could be showered with radioactive fragments.

Unlike small asteroids, Bennu is very large, and it is 1,664 times heavier than the Titanic at 79 billion kilograms. The length of the asteroid is 500 meters, the size of five football grounds.

Experts believe that using one single Hammer spacecraft to deflect the course of Bennu will be very difficult. The most viable option is to send multiple hammer crafts to space to deviate the asteroid. However, this option may also prove difficult for NASA considering the failure rate associated with each individual launch.

Slim chances but dire consequences

According to experts, the chance of getting hit with Bennu asteroid is just 1 in 2700.

Kirsten Howley, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the lead author of the study revealed that learning the trajectory of the asteroid is very much necessary to take proper action plans to deflect the course of this space body.

"The probability of a Bennu impact maybe 1 in 2,700 today, but that will almost certainly change, for better or worse - as we gather more data about its orbit. Delay is the greatest enemy of any asteroid deflection mission. That's why there's urgency in getting viable deflection platforms on the shelf today," added Howley.