American space agency NASA is contemplating to land a probe on an asteroid which is hurtling towards the Earth, a plan which mirrors the plot of the 1998 blockbuster Hollywood film 'Deep Impact', a media report said.
Though asteroid 1999 RQ36 has a one-in-1,000 chance of hitting Earth before the year 2200, but if it happens, then the collision would cause an explosion equivalent to hundreds of nuclear bombs detonating at once.
An analysis of its orbit has predicted that it is most likely to hit us on September 24, 2182 but scientists want to collect a sample of the rock to help forecast its trajectory more accurately.
If NASA gives the plan the green light, the spacecraft would blast off in 2106 to map out and collect rock samples from the asteroid, which is 1,800 feet-wide, British newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph' reported.
The planned mission, called OSIRIS-Rex, is one of two finalists in competition for funding as part of the cash-strapped US space agency’s New Frontiers program. The other contender is a mission to land on Venus. The winner will be announced next year.