MAY 28, 2018 6:39 PM PDT

How Will NASA Protect Earth From Potentially-Hazardous Asteroids?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Earth is no stranger to asteroids, but that's no reason to let our guard down. While many smaller asteroids break up in the planet's atmosphere, a larger one could potentially reach the surface and impose cataclysmic results.

One potentially-hazardous asteroid (PHA) is Bennu, and astronomers say it will reach our planetary neighborhood by the year 2135. Bennu is enormous, comparable in size to the Empire State Building, and there's a 1 in 2700 chance that it could crash into Earth.

While the odds are in our favor, NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is taking the event very seriously and considering all possible asteroid deflection methods just in case it becomes necessary.

If Bennu gets too close to Earth for comfort, then NASA could deploy a gravity tractor to tug the asteroid away from Earth or slam into it with several kinetic impactors to change its course. Both methods are purely theoretical, but they're the best we have until we get a chance to test them out.

While most of us won't live to see the day Bennu gets close to Earth, it's essential for future generations that we get serious about protecting our planet from asteroid-related close calls. After all, there are thousands of near-Earth objects and potentially-hazardous asteroids all around us that pose genuine threats.
About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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