While the likelihood is slim, there is a chance that asteroid Bennu could strike Earth by the year 2182. NASA’s calculations suggest that Bennu could impact Earth with the force of 22 atomic bombs. The asteroid was discovered in 1999 and has been closely monitored due to its considerable size, measuring 1,610 feet wide, and a small but possible chance of impacting our planet.
Numerous internet videos depict the potentially catastrophic scenario of a large asteroid colliding with Earth. This alarming possibility could become reality with NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, launched in 2016, as it may intersect with Bennu. The projected collision date is set for September 24, 2184.
It is believed to be taller than the Empire State Building, and if it were to collide with Earth, it would release approximately 1,200 megatons of energy—24 times more powerful than the most potent nuclear weapon on Earth. NASA has stated that during a flyby, there is a slight chance that Bennu could pass through a gravitational pull region, setting it on a collision course with Earth, but this only has a 1 in 22 chance.
Additional facts about Bennu include its close encounters with Earth, happening every six years in 1999, 2005, and 2011. Scientists have predicted a contentious date for a potential collision, with odds of 1 in 2,700 or 0.037%. While this probability seems negligible, considering Earth’s age, it remains a notable statistic.
Despite NASA categorizing Bennu’s collision chances with Earth as relatively low, it remains classified as a “potentially hazardous asteroid” capable of coming within 4.65 million miles of our planet.
This near-Earth object, discovered in 1999, formed approximately 10 million years ago in a solar system that is about 4.5 billion years old. Scientists are intrigued by its geographical and chemical composition, as it can provide valuable insights into the origin and development of our rocky planet.
NASA’s interest in Bennu is so profound that they launched the OSIRIS-REx mission in 2020, which briefly touched the asteroid, collected samples, and then departed. This mission marked a significant milestone in asteroid exploration and sample retrieval.
Source : Times of India