The probability of asteroid Bennu hitting Earth has just increased

NASA just increased the probability of Bennu striking Earth in the next century or two from 1-in-2700 to 1-in-1750. Bennu is a carbonaceous near-earth asteroid – about the size of a skyscraper and some 200 million miles from Earth.

On September 8, 2019, NASA launched OSIRIS-Rex (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) to study and obtain at least 60gms sample from the asteroid Bennu. Thanks to the OSIRIS-Rex mission, scientists now have a better understanding of Bennu’s orbital path and its whereabouts for the next 200 years. The spacecraft is expected to return samples to Earth during September 2023, with about 400gms of materials.

This illustration provided by NASA depicts the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft at the asteroid Bennu. Image: Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA

According to scientist Davide Farnocchia, from NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the lead author of this study, the odds of Bennu hitting Earth in the next century is quite low and shouldn’t be of immediate concern.

Bennu will pass Earth within half the distance of the moon in 2135. Based on earlier telescopic observations, it was determined that Earth’s gravity could put the asteroid’s future path on a collision course with the Earth in the 2200s. However, based on the data from OSIRIS-Rex, it may not be the case.

Bennu is not a doomsday asteroid; even if it strikes Earth, it will leave a crater 10 to 20 times its size and devastate an area 200 times that of the crater – according to Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer.

NASA is launching an exploratory mission in November to hit an asteroid and knock it off-course. In one hundred years from now, our technology would be different, and we will have measures to deflect such asteroids.

Source: APNews

+ Make it Rain! Dubai uses drones to conjure rain from the skies
+ Physicists have created the world’s thinnest magnet. Just one atom thick!

Related Stories

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope’s Payload Computer has stopped working

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has helped in shaping our understandings about the cosmos and the universe for over 30...

Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the first supermoon of 2021 this month

Good news, skywatchers and amateur astronomers can witness the second-largest moon of 2021 shortly before midnight on Monday the...

Featured Stories

Will Telosa be the “City of the Future” by 2030?

Shenzhen, China was a sleepy fishing village in 1979. A mere forty years later, it is one of the...

Low-cost lead adsorbing water filter designed by Indian students

Two students from India have designed a low-cost lead water filter that can be made with locally sourced materials....

Make it Rain! Dubai uses drones to conjure rain from the skies

You can order food, hail a driver, and even find a spouse with the click of a button; but...

Physicists have created the world’s thinnest magnet. Just one atom thick!

Can you guess the size of the thinnest magnet? It is just one atom thick. Scientists from the University of...

Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak reverse decision to avoid self-isolation following ping by NHS contact tracing

Following the Health Secretary's diagnosis with COVID-19, the Prime Minister and Chancellor were notified by NHS Test and Trace...

India is one of the largest producers of COVID vaccine and yet faces major internal shortages

The worsening situation in India finally gained some stabilization around September 2020. Usually, when things start getting better, people...