In 21:35 there's, a chance that an asteroid the size of the Empire State Building, nicknamed Ben, new will crash into Earth. Okay. So it's a small chance, but even so near-earth objects like asteroids and comets are a real threat. This massive crater in Arizona. And this flattened forest in Russia are believed to be the works of space rocks slamming into our planet. In fact, we avoid close calls from near-earth objects, all the time at NASA's, planetary defense coordination office as responsible for finding.
Tracking and in extreme cases, destroying them the planetary defense office deals largely with asteroids, because there are millions of them left over from the formation of the solar system. They're typically composed of rock, forming minerals like olivine and Pro's been. But they can also contain metal sulfides, clays and organic compounds. These space rocks range in size from hundreds of miles or kilometers to just a few feet across like the planets asteroids revolve around the Sun in elliptical.
Orbits most of them are found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, but because of their unstable orbits, some have been known to migrate towards Earth. Once an asteroid comes within, twenty-eight million miles or 45 million kilometers of Earth's orbit. The planetary defense office classifies it as an NEA or near-earth asteroid. There have been over 18,000 NEA s, discovered in the last four decades, large asteroids that are over 460 feet or 140 meters in diameter and on track to come within. About five million miles or eight million kilometers of Earth's orbit are classified as Has, potentially hazardous asteroids. And these are the space rocks. We should be worried about like our old friend Ben knew here.
This PHA is a huge focus of the planetary defense office as it passes through Earth's orbit. Every six years it's about as wide as five football fields and weighs more than the Titanic. If it were to slam into earth, its force would be 80 thousand times more powerful than the nuclear. Bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, but don't panic, like we said, the chances of this happening are small and the vast majority of any A's that enter Earth's atmosphere, disintegrate before reaching the surface. But for fun let's say, we do face an Armageddon scenario and Ben who does head straight for Earth. What could NASA do to stop it to deflect an asteroid and prevent impact scientists have to change the object's velocity by less than an inch per second years before the projected collision NASA is. Investigating two potential ways of doing this.
The first method is a gravity tractor. A spacecraft would fly alongside the asteroid for an extended period of time, essentially using its own gravity to slowly pull the NEA away from earth. But this could take years or even decades to pull off. The second method is a kinetic impactor, which involves sending one or more large high-speed spacecraft into the path of the approaching asteroid. Scientists have already designed a prototype, and it's called. Hammer, hypervelocity asteroid, mitigation mission for emergency response, vehicle the spacecraft would serve as either a kinetic impactor or as a transport vehicle for a nuclear device.
If the incoming asteroid is detected, early several hammer vehicles would be dispatched to collide with the massive rock. Each collision would help further deflect the asteroid off its path to earth. If that doesn't work, scientists would turn to the nuclear option, a hammer vehicle would transport a nuclear device near. The asteroid and then it would detonate the bomb. The force of the explosion would ideally break off a chunk of the space rock, creating jet-like propulsion that would drive the asteroid away from our planet.
But before we make any rash decisions about Benny's, fate NASA, and the planetary defense office needs to learn more about this PHA and its potential for impact. The spacecraft osiris-rex is on route to Ben who as we speak to collect samples of the asteroid, but we'll have to wait until 2023 to. Get more information on whether this massive space, rock could really end civilization as we know it. If you want to see more spacecrafts check out this playlist here and be sure to let us know in the comments, what astronomical phenomena you want to learn more about thanks for watching seeker don't, forget to subscribe.
Dated : 18-Apr-2022