September 17, 2021

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The asteroid Bennu is more dangerous.  NASA has recalculated the chance of hitting Earth

The asteroid Bennu is more dangerous. NASA has recalculated the chance of hitting Earth

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Are we ready for an asteroid strike?

Scientists constantly monitor the immediate surroundings of the Earth, looking for space objects that have the opportunity to interrupt the orbit of our planet. When they discover a new object, they calculate its diameter and estimate the probability of a collision with Earth. Then the cosmic rocks that threaten us are entered into various lists – includingin a. Near Earth Objects (NEO) or Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA).

The first of these lists currently includes hundreds of thousands of objects, some of which are large enough (about a thousand objects with a diameter greater than 1 How many) that in the event of a collision, it could cause a local space catastrophe on Earth. One of the largest is the asteroid Bennu, which belongs to both the NEO and PHA lists and has a diameter of approx. 500 meters.

Is Benno a danger to us? NASA is changing the stakes

Bennu has long been studied by scientists, among others from NASA. Until now, it was possible to calculate that the asteroid would approach Earth several times. The next meeting will take place in the year 2135, and the chance of a collision with our planet has been estimated at 2,700 to 1.

Now, NASA scientists have published the results of a new study in the journal Icarus based on new data about Bennu’s orbit. The risk of collision with Earth has been estimated at 1750 to 1 (about 0.05714%) over the next 200 years.

asteroid benno to come. NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

However, scientists add that if Bennu collides with Earth, the most likely date for the collision will be September 24, 2182. Then our planet and Bennu will soon cross in their orbits.

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It should be noted, however, that the chance of collision, even according to the new estimate, is still very small. A 1750 to 1 risk means about 99.94 percent. The asteroid will not hit the Earth.

NASA will bring samples from Bennu

However, this does not change the fact that scientists have been interested in Bennu and other potentially dangerous asteroids for years. In 2016, NASA sent the OSIRIS-REx mission, which arrived at Bennu at the end of 2018. In 2020, the probe took rock samples from the surface of the asteroid and is currently returning with it to Earth. It will be delivered to our planet in 2023.

Recently, Bennu has also become interested in researchers from chin. They calculated that a good way to reduce the collision risk to zero would be to shift Bennu’s orbit. Scientists from the Middle Kingdom would like to use 23 Long March 5 rockets to simultaneously hit the asteroid, moving it approximately 1.4 times the radius of the Earth, which is about 8,930 How many. In the long run, this will change Bennu’s orbit around the Sun.