You might think that there’s nothing new about this as the idea has even been successfully used in movies such as Armageddon. However, the scientists have planned to use a spacecraft capable to blow up asteroids that head towards Earth with nuclear missiles.
The design plans for the spacecraft already exists
For example, the asteroid Bennu which is orbiting the Sun at a speed of 63,000 mph is right now at a safe distance of 54 million miles away from us. However, according to NASA, the Bennu asteroid, which is as large as a regular town, could hit the Earth on September 21st, 2135.
Therefore, the government’s scientists from NASA, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and a couple of labs subsidiary to the Energy Department have joined and designed The Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response or the HAMMER.
However, NASA refused to reveal the costs for this mission and there is no official announcement when the development of such a spacecraft will emerge. Thus, it’s not yet known if the HAMMER will ever be built.
“If the asteroid is small enough, and we detect it early enough, we can do it with the impactor,” admitted the physicist David Dearborn. “The impactor is not as flexible as the nuclear option when we really want to change the speed of the body in a hurry,” he added.
Scientists are considering HAMMER a good idea
“Smart people are taking this seriously and thinking carefully about what might be done. These are reasonable ideas – well thought out,” admitted Richard Binzel, the MIT asteroids impact expert referring to the HAMMER plans.
However, the Earth is frequently hit by small asteroids and meteors, for example, the meteor that hit Russia in 2013. Scientists, on the other hand, are considering that a massive asteroid could hit Earth in the future, and the aforementioned asteroid Bennu could be the one.
Nobody can say now if the HAMMER will be built soon but the plan to protect the Earth against asteroids with nukes is gaining more and more popularity.