As you review this article, there are lots of different objects hurtling through space at alarming speeds. Never mind the heavens along with the planets, space is filled with many asteroids which could potentially lead to disastrous consequences should they ever reach all the way down towards Earth. It is said this is the exact basis for the demise of dinosaurs, and it’s possible for humans to suffer a similar fate.
That’s why researchers from your Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) happen to be working as a part of a national planetary defense team, which is now reported that to date, they’ve managed to design a conceptual spacecraft that’s designed to deflect every Earth-bound asteroids. After finishing the task on their initial design, they evaluated it to comprehend the actual way it perform against a tremendous asteroid. The results from the research, details and many types of, were recently shared in the paper that’s published inside journal Acta Astronautica.
The researchers have reportedly create a spacecraft that measures nine meters tall and weighs an overall total of 8.8 tons. They’ve called it the HAMMER vehicle, where HAMMER is short for Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response. It features a modular-design that would essentially help it become used as whether kinetic impactor, similar to a battering ram, or a dedicated transport vehicle for a specialized nuclear device.
One of the possible missions for that HAMMER vehicle had been identified. 101955 Bennu is a tremendous asteroid that measures around 500 meters in diameters, bigger than how big is five football fields, and weighs around 79 billion kilograms, more than 1,600 times heavier compared to the Titanic. It’s currently circling the sun’s rays around 63,000 miles per hour, and based on observable data, it is known which it carries a one in 2,700 chances of eventually punching the planet Earth. Scientists have looked into it and also put marked their calendars correctly: September 25, 2135. The estimate kinetic energy on this future impact has become considered to be equivalent to 1,200 megatons.
As you can imagine, this incident can’t be in a position to happen. According to Kirsten Howley, a physicist as well as a co-author around the study, for example disastrous event for pretty much everything on Earth may well not sound likely, but it’s highly probable. “The potential for an impact appears slim now, nevertheless the consequences could be dire,” she said. “This study aims to help us shorted the response timeline whenever we do go to a clear and offer danger therefore we may have more options to deflect it. The ultimate goal is usually to be able to protect life on Earth.”
This is when HAMMER would come in, ideally. As a kinetic impactor, technology-not only to provide a “gentle nudge” that might help slow asteroids down or better yet, change their course and save the Earth using their impact. The idea would be to simply guide them safely far from Earth you should necessary and avoid breaking them apart because that could cause a lot more problems since the number of pieces that may impact Earth would only increase.
“The push you should have is incredibly small in the event you deflect the asteroid fifty years out,” said Howley. “But that far out, you’re likely to think the percentage to be hit could be 1 %. The probably of your Bennu impact could be one out of 2,700 today, but that may probably change – for better or worse, even as we gather more data about its orbit.”
Howley also warned that delay will be the greatest enemy of the asteroid deflection mission. And for that reason, it’s urgent to obtain a working deflection platform available at the earliest opportunity. With more work, HAMMER could help as that solution for the time being.