A giant asteroid called Bennu, the size of the Empire State Building in New York, could hit Earth. Scientists from the US space agency NASA confirmed this earlier this week. However, it is important to note that there is nothing to worry about as this event is likely to happen in the 2100s.
According to a report in the New York Times, the chance Bennu will hit Earth between 2021 and 2300 is one in 1,750. Scientist Davide Farnocchiaa, author of the “Hazard Assessment” study for the asteroid (101955) Bennu, said along with 17 other scientists that the probability of an impact is still quite small.
“I’m no more worried about Bennu than before. The likelihood of an impact remains very low,” Farnocchiaa was quoted as saying. The Farnocchiaa-led study titled “Ephemeris and Hazard Assessment for the Near-Earth Asteroid (101955) Bennu” was conducted to track the asteroid’s trajectory based on the OSIRIS-REx data.
How close is asteroid Bennu to Earth?
Scientists say the asteroid Bennu will come 125,000 miles around the Earth by 2135, about half the distance from the Earth to the Moon. A video from NASA’s Goddard shows how close Bennu would get in September 2135, so knowing the exact distance is important, scientists say.
Citing a phenomenon called a “gravity keyhole,” the scientists said it could send Bennu on a specific route that could cause it to cut Earth 50 years after 2135.
What are the chances of devastation?
The significant day for the attack could be September 24, 2182. However, scientists have also made it clear that the probability that Bennu will hit Earth is only 0.037%.
Scientists have also assured that while the event won’t lead to extinction, the devastation could be enormous. Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, said, “So an object half a kilometer in size will create a crater that is at least three miles in diameter and that can be up to ten kilometers in diameter. But the area of devastation will be much, much wider, up to 100 times the size of the crater, “she quoted the New York Times as saying.