The asteroid Bennu will come close to Earth in 2135, but there is only a chance of a collision with our planet in 2182. The American space agency announced this during a press conference on Tuesday. It has gained a more accurate picture of the minor planet’s orbit over the next 300 years, thanks to research by the space probe OSIRIS-REx.
It shows that the risk of a collision with Earth is greatest on September 24, 2182. The chance of that is about 1 in 2700 (0.037 percent), “extremely small,” according to NASA. Despite this, Bennu remains one of the most “dangerous” asteroids in our solar system, along with the so-called 1950 DA.
The space probe OSIRIS-REx has been conducting research at Bennu for the past two years. The asteroid, which is about half a kilometer across and orbits the sun, is currently 306 million kilometers from Earth. It moves at a speed of about 100,000 kilometers per hour. A collision with Earth would release an energy equivalent to 70,000 atomic bombs of the type used by the Americans to bomb the Japanese port city of Hiroshima in August 1945. The potato-shaped space rock would create a crater about three miles in diameter, according to the latest NASA calculations.
Origin of life
While the asteroid will pose no threat to our planet, scientists need to know Bennu’s exact route. Only in this way can they predict how Earth’s gravity will change its orbit and affect the risk of an impact on Earth.
The US space agency announced Tuesday evening that it would release news today about an “important discovery” near the asteroid Bennu. The asteroid can tell scientists something about the origin of our solar system and life on Earth.
The mission of the OSIRIS-REx costs 1 billion euros. The probe was launched in 2016 and entered orbit around Bennu in 2018. The rock was measured and photographed from all angles. That data was sent to Earth for study.
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