This asteroid is one of the most likely to hit Earth. Here’s what it means for our future.
New ultraprecise measurements show that the asteroid Bennu has a higher chance than thought of impacting our planet sometime in the next 300 years, NASA says.
For hundreds of millions of years, a top-shaped rubble pile called Bennu has orbited the sun in relative isolation. The asteroid, about a third of a mile wide at its equator, poses no immediate threat to our planet. But hundreds of years from now, there is a small chance that Bennu could slam into Earth.
In a new study published in the scientific journal Icarus, scientists used data from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to make a precise calculation of Bennu’s orbit and its future proximity to our home planet. The researchers then analyzed the impact hazard between now and the year 2300. The study finds a 1-in-1,750 chance of a future collision over the next three centuries—a slightly higher