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NASA's HAMMER spacecraft cannot save us from doomsday asteroid

NASA's HAMMER spacecraft cannot save us from doomsday asteroid

Context:

  • NASA came out with its plans to launch a super-huge nuclear spacecraft to blow up or finish a potential impact by any space rock that can hit Earth.
  • However, scientists now say that this spacecraft will still not equipped well enough to save us from the doomsday asteroid that is predicted to ram into Earth in 2135.

THE PROTECTIVE SPACECRAFT

  • The spacecraft is named HAMMER (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response) and is an 8.8-tonne spaceship which could deflect a giant space rock or low it up using a nuclear device-- if it happens to hit Earth.

WHICH ASTEROID IS IT FRETTING AND WHY?

  • The 1,600-foot-wide asteroid Bennu is circling the sun at about 1,01,388 kmph
  • It is the best-studied asteroid of all the known ones that pose a threat to our planet
  • The asteroid has sparked fears that it could even wipe out life for good, if and when it collides with us some time in the next century

THE REPORT

  • While NASA's Osiris-Rex mission is en route to Bennu to take samples, in a new paper detailed in the journal Acta Astronautica, experts calculated the time and payload it would take to move or destroy asteroid Bennu, that has been monitored since its discovery in 1999
  • The asteroid is considered as an NEO (Near Earth Object), which would hit the planet with 1,450 megatons of TNT, the report said
  • Bennu's impact would release "three times more energy than all nuclear weapons detonated throughout history", Dante Lauretta, professor at the University of Arizona told IANS.

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