US scientists and engineers are making plans for a new spacecraft called Hammer, which will be able to destroy dangerous asteroids. HAMMER (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response) will “derail” the asteroids that can fall on our planet, using either the impact force on them or nuclear warheads.
Emergency ship plans were initially presented to the Asta Astronautica astronautics magazine and will be further analyzed at an asteroid conference in May in the US. More people in NASA and other US government agencies realize that “babysitters cook before hungry” if they do not want to suddenly find surprise when a nice day becomes known that an asteroid is heading to Earth.
Each HAMMER boat will weigh about 8.8 tonnes and it is proposed to build a fleet of them. So, when a space threat arises, they will be sent to remove the asteroid from its course, falling over it like bullets.
If it does not catch, e.g. in case of a larger star, or if the available reaction time is limited, HAMMER will do something similar but more energetic, using nuclear weapons.
Researchers make their plans, bearing in mind the 500-meter Bean asteroid, which has a probability of 2,700 to land on Earth in 2135. Not at all accidentally, this asteroid is the destination of the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission launched in 2016 with the aim of picking up and bringing back samples of his rocks. The vessel will reach the asteroid this summer, will be orbiting it for two years, and after taking the samples, it is expected to return to Earth in 2023.
OSIRIS-Rex is a $ 800 million mission. At present, it is unknown how much the construction of a HAMMER vessel may cost, if the decision is ultimately taken to implement the plan.