The NASA-led OSIRIS-REx mission has determined the trajectory of asteroid Bennu and the likelihood of its collision with our planet.
Asteroid Bennu is a cosmic body with a diameter of about 500 meters, which in the coming years may come close to our planet. Its existence has been known for many years. According to scientists, Bennu was formed almost 100 million years ago in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.
Despite its relatively small size, it has recently become known about the serious consequences that await us in the event of a collision with the Earth. The explosion from the collision will be equal to the exploded 150 megatons of TNT, which is 20 times more than the explosion of an atomic bomb.
A government agency has calculated that a space body could enter the Earth’s atmosphere after 2135. However, they stressed that this is an “extremely small” probability. At the same time, they marked the date of the greatest risk for the planet.
According to the OSIRIS-REx mission, September 24, 2182 will be the day of greatest risk to Earth. At the moment, the study indicated an error of almost two meters, that is, this space rock will fly closer to the Earth than the orbit of the Moon.
It is on September 24, 2182 that Bennu can cross the so-called “gravity keyhole.” On this day, the space body can change its flight trajectory, heading directly to the Earth. The asteroid will find itself in that region of space in which the gravity of our planet will have a stronger effect on its flight path.
On Wednesday August 11, NASA reported that after their discovery, the likelihood of an impact has increased significantly.
Astrophysicists also reported that they continue to monitor the movement of the space body.
Wait or take action?
Earlier, scientists from the National Center for Space Sciences of C̳h̳i̳n̳a̳ announced plans to hit the asteroid Bennu with rockets and change its trajectory.
Chinese scientists have calculated that a one-time strike of 23 missiles, 900 tons each, will knock Bennu off the trajectory of 9 thousand kilometers. This was previously reported by The Science Times.
Some researchers believe that this should not be done prematurely, since technologies are developing and by the day of greatest risk for mankind, most likely, more promising technical capabilities will appear that will allow you to influence the trajectory of dangerous objects. It would be advisable, for example, to direct resources to combat the ongoing climate change.
By the way, NASA is also actively working on a project to deflect asteroids. The project involves the use of a spacecraft as a striking element.
According to the calculations of scientists, it will be enough to inflict 34-53 blows to knock the asteroid off the course dangerous for the Earth. The project is supposed to be implemented 10 years before a possible collision of a space body with the Earth.
In 2023, NASA’s OSIRIS-REX research vehicle is expected to return to Earth with rock samples. This will allow scientists to better understand what this cosmic body consists of and draw certain conclusions regarding the possibility of striking an asteroid.