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The Scientists Have Better Idea About the Asteroid Bennu

The good news is that Scientists now have a better idea of where asteroid Bennu will be in 200 years. The bad news is that the space rock has a somewhat higher risk of colliding with Earth than previously believedBut don’t be alarmed: Scientists said Wednesday that the chances of Bennu colliding with Earth in the next century are still slim. “We shouldn’t be too concerned,” said Davide Farnocchia, the study’s principal author and a scientist at NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

According to Farnocchia, Scientists now have a much better idea of Bennu’s path thanks to NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft. While the odds of a strike have risen from 1-in-2,700 to 1-in-1,750 over the next century or two, Scientists now have a much better idea of Bennu’s path thanks to NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft. After gathering samples from a massive, spinning rubble pile of an asteroid, considered one of the two most hazardous known asteroids in our solar system, the spacecraft is making a long, roundabout loop back to Earth.

The samples will arrive in 2023. Before Osiris-Rex arrived at Bennu in 2018, telescopes gave us a good look at the asteroid, which is about a third of a mile across. Their results, which were published in the journal Icarus, should aid in the tracking of future asteroids and provide Earth with a greater fighting chance if and when another dangerous space rock approaches. Before Osiris-Rex arrived on the scene, astronomers estimated that Bennu would strike Earth in the year 2200, with a 1-in-2,700 chance of doing so.

Through the year 2300, the probability is now 1 in 1,750. The most dangerous day is September 24, 2182. In 2135, Bennu will pass within half the distance of the moon and will have a near encounter with Earth. Based on Osiris-Rex data, Earth’s gravity might alter its future route and put it on a collision course with Earth in the 2200s.

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