NASA to study asteroid with potential to destroy Earth | Inquirer Technology

NASA to study asteroid with potential to destroy Earth

/ 10:38 AM August 02, 2016

5612237 - asteroid with tail of fire flying between planets in space

Asteroid. File Photo.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plans to examine an asteroid that could pulverize the Earth.

NASA scientists have issued a grave warning on Sunday (Monday in Manila) that an asteroid named Bennu crosses the earth’s orbit every six years and has gotten closer since it was discovered in 1999.


The dreaded asteroid, which is 1,600 feet in diameter and travels at an average 63,000 miles per hour,  is expected to pass between the Earth and the moon in 2125. The impact of the probable collision could cause  “immense suffering and death,” The Mirror reported.


Astronomers revealed that the chance of an impact is small but extremely significant, as it would be equivalent to triggering 3 billion tons of high explosives. The potential blow would also be 200 times the strength of the atomic bomb that dropped on Hiroshima, experts said.

“Bennu falls on the boundary, in terms of size, for an object capable of causing a global catastrophe,” Prof. Mark Bailey of Northern Ireland’s Armagh Observatory was quoted as saying in the report.

The disastrous scenario also eerily replicates the danger depicted in the 1998 Hollywood movie “Armageddon,” in which Bruce Willis’ character was sent to implant a nuclear weapon to destroy an asteroid aiming for the Earth.

NASA, meanwhile,  will launch the Osiris-Rex probe mission to Bennu in September, led by NASA investigator and professor of planetary science Dante Lauretta.

“We need to know everything about Bennu—its size, mass and composition,” Lauretta told The Mirror. “This could be vital data for future generations.”

Lauretta and his team will reportedly arrive in 2018 and spend a year mapping the asteroid and then hover above its surface to pick up some rubble, before flying back to Earth.


The team is expected to return with valuable data in 2023.   Khristian Ibarrola


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TOPICS: Asteroid, NASA, Osiris-Rex, space probe
TAGS: Asteroid, NASA, Osiris-Rex, space probe

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