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A nearby asteroid could hit Earth in the future, NASA says


There is a 1 in 2,700 chance that the asteroid Bennu will hit Earth by 2182.

September 19, 2023, 8:59 p.m.

An asteroid tracked by NASA for nearly 25 years could impact Earth in the future, a new report reveals.

First discovered in 1999, Bennu, the near-Earth asteroid, could drift into the planet’s orbit and hit it by September 2182, according to the OSIRIS-REx science team.

Bennu passes near Earth every six years and has had three close encounters with Earth in 1999, 2005 and 2011, experts said in the ScienceDirect study.

There is a 1 in 2,700 chance, or 0.037 percent, that Bennu could hit Earth by 2182, scientists say.

In October 2020, the OSIRIS-REx – an acronym for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer – briefly touched the surface of Bennu, collected a sample and then propelled out of the asteroid.

Artist’s illustration showing OSIRIS-REx traveling to the near-Earth asteroid Bennu on a sample return mission.

NASA

The first asteroid sample collected in space from OSIRIS-REx lands on Earth on Sunday and crashes in Utah.

Astrophysicist Hakeem Oluyesi told ABC News that OSIRIS-REx will change what people know about the origins of our solar system.

“This is pure, intact material revealing the first secrets of the solar system. A long-term discovery would be to find biological molecules or even precursor molecules of life.”

This was the first mission of its type for NASA.

If Bennu hit Earth, it would release 1,200 megatons of energy, or 24 times the energy of the largest man-made nuclear weapon, according to IFLScience.

The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was as powerful as 10 billion atomic bombs, scientists revealed in 2019. Experts found evidence in huge chunks of rock that the asteroid was powerful enough to spark wildfires. forest, tsunamis and throwing so much dust into the atmosphere that it blocked it. under the sun.

ABC News’ Catherine Thorbecke and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

ABC News

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