Flicking through the news today the last thing I expected to see was a Nerdist article that seemed to be straight from a Hollywood film script rather than real life. Surely, that couldn't be right. My eyes were deceiving me. Nope. Apparently there's an asteroid on such a close collision course with Earth that NASA has seen fit to start working on a contingency plan. Don't worry though, we've got plenty of time to get our affairs in order, rearrange all those appointments and commitments, it's not due to arrive until Thursday the 22nd September 2135.
Talking with The Washington Post, who calculate the odds of impact at a worryingly too likely 1 in 2,700 chance, aerospace engineer at NASA, Brent W. Barbee, said 'We’re doing these design studies to prepare ourselves, so if we do find a threatening object, we’re better prepared to deal with it.' Apparently being able to 'deal with it' includes sending a nine-ton nuclear device to discourage it from its course. We all know how well that went in Deep Impact (a film I totally forgot the name of and had to search 'Morgan Freeman President Asteroid' in google to find it). The plan is being dubbed the Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response, I guess so someone can wryly look over the mission control monitor and exclaim, DROPPING THE H.A.M.M.E.R!
NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office is tasked with combing our skies for threats like this and a spacecraft known as OSIRIS-REx has already been sent out to meet Bennu (the asteroid), a journey that has taken the vessel two years already (WAIT! They've known about this since 2016?). The little ship 'will map Bennu and establish the composition of the asteroid, including the distribution of the elements, minerals and organic materials.' Until Morgan Freeman makes a speech telling us that the powers that be have a plan that won't fail, I'll not worry; yet.
What do you think of this story? Is it a lot of concern for nothing or does the fact that NASA are taking this threat seriously make you sleep a little easier? Comment below or tweet us @ghoulishent.
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