NASA Plan: Blow Up Killer Asteroid
It's out there somewhere and it is coming eventually but you'll be happy to know the best scientific brains on earth have gathered, gave it a good think and have a plan to stop any future planet-killer asteroid that's on a path to strike the earth.
Here's the Plan
Send a spacecraft to meet the oncoming asteroid and use explosives to shunt its heading or blow it into smaller less harmful pieces, thus sparing Earth without the rest of us even missing a day of work. Billions of people saved and we'll still be sitting numbly in I10 traffic.
This would make a great movie. Wait, it did make a great movie and I admit I always cried a little when Harry shoved A.J. back into the elevator and adopted him there and then as his son-in-law to be.
But this isn't a movie review, this is real-deal science. NASA's best and brightest have determined that their HAMMER or Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response system housed in a 16,000-pound spaceship could and would deflect a life ending asteroid strike. Asteroid nearby? Hit it with your HAMMER.
Two things: I love it when life imitates art, and I wonder if they think of a clever name first then add in sciency words to fill out the acronym later?
In the film 'Armageddon' the astronauts were asked to drill into the asteroid to get better dynamic compaction upon detonation of a nuclear device to cleave the asteroid, or else the rock would continue undaunted on its path to destroy the earth. The NASA brains in the movie had determined simply hitting the asteroid or exploding a device on its surface wouldn't save us.
Also, unlike the movie, the real NASA thinks they'll know years in advance of such an oncoming strike, not the 30-day notice of the end of humanity our celluloid heroes got. (I know modern movies do not use flammable celluloid, I just like the sound of 'celluloid heroes')
NASA's HAMMER project would be a seven-year mission, so it'd be hit so far out the slightest deviation should spare us all, like a 20-foot putt steered wrong by a blade of grass.
Real-life NASA experts are sure that merely hitting the asteroid in flight with explosives could deflect it enough to spare life as we know it and that's their plan. After all, NASA has real-life geniuses who just sit around all day thinking up stuff like this, so you can believe they're sure it'll work.
They're sure enough they can save us to bet their next paychecks and the whole earth on it.