NASA says Bennu, nicknamed the ‘apocalypse asteroid’, could wreak havoc on Earth, as there is a 1-in-2700 chance of it colliding with the planet. Should that happen, the gigantic asteroid would release 80,000 times more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The OSIRIS-Rex space probe is currently orbiting it on an observatory mission, and will eventually land on its surface some time in 2020 tocollect samples of the rock before returning to Earth. Read more for another video and additional information.
NASA’s HAMMER (Hyper-velocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response vehicle) is designed to destroy asteroids with nuclear bombs or steer the asteroid onto a different course should Benu be on a collision course with Earth. “The consequences would be dire. The push you need to give it is very small if you deflect the asteroid 50 years out. The probability of a Bennu impact may be 1 in 2,700 today, but that will almost certainly change – for better or worse – as we gather more data about its orbit. Delay is the greatest enemy of any asteroid deflection mission” said Kirsten Howley, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
“Scientists say if Bennu collided with Earth the impact would release more energy than all the nuclear weapons detonated in history. On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped a nuclear bomb on the Japanese city Hiroshima, killing nearly 100,000 people in a bid to end World War II. The weapon released energy equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT across a one mile blast radius. But Scientists believe the impact of a strike from Bennu could best the bombing nearly 80,000 times over,” according to Daily Mail.