Nasa predicts that an enormous asteroid might impact Earth on 22 September 2135.

The size of the Empire State Building, ‘Bennu’ (as it has been named) could hit Earth in just over one hundred years, according to the Washington Post.

The Nasa report states Bennu is a “well-studied, roughly spherical body” that they can track with telescopes. In fact, OSIRIS-Rex, a spacecraft on its way to Bennu, contains instruments that “will map Bennu and establish the composition of the asteroid, including the distribution of the elements, minerals and organic materials".

It will then send a sample back to Earth.

Although it probably doesn’t propose an existential threat to the planet, it could still cause considerable damage if it impacts a highly populated area.

So, what as Nasa got planned in case it hits?


No, it hasn’t got anything to do with Thor. HAMMER stands for a scheme called Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency response.

If the asteroid looks like it’s going to impact Earth, astrophysicists will send a nine-tonne “bulk impactor” to push it out of the Earth’s orbit. The impactor is probably going to be a nuclear device.

Brent W Barbee, the NASA aerospace engineer who helped write the study, asserts that the plan is, so far theoretical, and told the Washington Post:

We’re doing these design studies to prepare ourselves, so if we do find a threatening object; we’re better prepared to deal with it.

This isn’t the first object the Earth has had to prepare for in the past few years. In 2013, a 10-tonne meteor impacted over Russia’s Ural Mountains, breaking windows – the glass from which injured over a thousand people.

H/T Washington Post

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