NASA Warns Asteroid Bennu Could Slam Into The Earth In The Future
By Bill Galluccio
September 20, 2023
A near-Earth asteroid NASA has been tracking since 1999 could slam into the Earth in the future, a team of scientists warned. Asteroid Bennu has a 1 in 2,700 or 0.037% chance of striking Earth in September 2182.
If Bennu hits Earth, the 1,640-foot asteroid will release 1,200 megatons of energy, which is more than the most powerful nuclear weapon, according to IFLScience.
Bennu is the same asteroid that was visited by the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). In 2020, the spacecraft touched down on the asteroid's surface and collected a sample of material. OSIRIS-REx is now heading back to Earth and is expected to return with the sample on Sunday (September 24).
"This is pure untainted material revealing early solar system secrets. A longshot discovery would be finding biological molecules or even precursor molecules for life," astrophysicist Hakeem Oluyesi told ABC News.
After dropping off the sample from Bennu, the craft will be renamed the OSIRIS-APophis EXplorer as it heads toward asteroid Apophis in 2029.