Slight chance of asteroid Bennu hitting Earth: NASA

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An asteroid known as Bennu will pass within half the distance of the Earth to the Moon in the year 2135 but the probability of an impact with our planet in the coming centuries is very slight, scientists said.

OSIRIS-REx, a NASA spacecraft, spent two years near Bennu, an asteroid that is about 1,650 feet (500 meters) wide, observing its size, shape, mass and composition and monitoring its orbital trajectory around the sun.

Using its robotic arm, the spacecraft also collected a sample from the surface of the asteroid that will help researchers determine the future trajectory of Bennu.

The rocks and dust collected by OSIRIS-REx are scheduled to return to Earth on September 24, 2023.

Bennu was discovered in 1999 and is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid.

It will make a close approach with Earth in September 2135.

Scientists want to figure out how Earth’s gravity and a phenomenon known as the Yarkovsky effect will affect its future trajectory and the potential for an impact on a subsequent orbit.

Researchers determined Bennu’s total impact probability between now and the year 2300 at about one in 1,750, or 0.057 percent.

Photo: An undated handout photo made available by the NASA shows mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on 02 December 2019 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). EPA-EFE/NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

Via France 24/AFP

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