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Study shows how an atomic bomb could prevent an asteroid impact on Earth

The asteroid Bennu shouldn’t come too close to Earth (Photo: Shutterstock / Lukasz Pawel Szczepanski)
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Hollywood processed the idea over 20 years ago, now there is a scientific lookup. Researchers have calculated how an atomic bomb could prevent an asteroid impact.

Armageddon and Deep Impact are about the danger of an asteroid that is on a collision course with the earth. Both Hollywood films describe a similar solution to the problem: to place an atom bomb on the object and thereby destroy it or throw it off course to earth. A new study from the USA shows that the plot of the disaster films is not so absurd. In it, researchers have made calculations on how such a maneuver could be successfully managed.

Impending asteroid impact: danger is real

Especially since the risk of an asteroid impact for research is quite real. Bennu, a space rock around 500 meters tall, threatens to collide with the earth, as NASA recently announced. The possible collision should therefore take place on September 24, 2182 – with a probability of 1 in 2,700. The problem: It may be that other asteroids are on a collision course with the earth, they just haven’t been discovered yet.

Accordingly, the US research team around study author Patrick King is concerned with averting an impending danger shortly before a possible impact . Specifically, it is about a period of less than a year. According to the study entitled “Late-time small body disruptions for planetary defense”, which appears in the November issue of Acta Astronautica, the use of an atomic bomb would be “very effective”. The researchers calculated this using simulation software, which they used Bennu as a model.

The study model asteroid, however, had a diameter of only 100 meters, so it was significantly smaller than Benn u. As part of the study, an atomic bomb explosion was simulated up to two months before the impact on earth, as the Futurezone writes. The bomb had an explosive power of one megaton. In the ideal case, only a fraction of the asteroid (one thousandth) would hit Earth. If the asteroid were larger, it would still be a hundredth.

Protection of Earth: Nasa will test the use of spacecraft as early as next year

King and his team point out, however, that if the asteroid is discovered much earlier and more time is available for a reaction, other methods would be more effective. Specifically, the point is that, for example, a space probe could be made to collide with the asteroid and throw it off course. This is exactly what NASA wants to test as part of the so-called darts mission. In the next year, a 500-kilogram space probe is expected to hit the 170-meter-large asteroid moon Didymos B, which orbits asteroid Didymos A, at a speed of 6.6 kilometers per second.

The resulting change in course should be measurable from Earth be. According to NASA, this is the first test mission to avert threats to the earth from asteroids. The large space probe is accompanied by two small cubesats that are supposed to record data relating to the collision. The Esa space probe Hera is to follow in 2024 and collect further data from the experiment.

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Tyler Hromadka
Tyler is working as the Author at World Weekly News. He has a love for writing and have been writing for a few years now as a free-lancer.

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