NASA found an asteroid that can hit Earth with ultra-precision



The asteroid Bennu, 500 meters in diameter and one of the main known space threats, will come very close to Earth from the year 2135, although with a probability “Extremely small” that he comes to collide with her.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission has managed to predict Bennu’s trajectory over the next few centuries, with an accuracy of 2 meters, and has estimated that in 2135 the asteroid it will pass closer to the Earth than the Moon itself.

From then on, the space rock could cross a “Gravitational keyhole” (“Gravitational keyhole”, in English) that would change its trajectory and take it directly towards Earth.

A gravitational keyhole is a region of space where the gravity of a planet alters the orbit of an asteroid. And according to NASA models, there are very few “eyes” that humans should be concerned about.

“We must bear in mind that the probability of impact, in general, is really small”, explained during a conference Davide Farnocchia, lead author of the study.

NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies had announced a press conference on Wednesday to announce an “important finding” whose effects will not be noticeable for more than a century.

Indeed, NASA has increased the odds of the dreaded impact, although they remain extremely small. From now until the year 2300, the chance that Bennu will collide with Earth is 1 in 1,750, a percentage of 0.057%.

The point of maximum risk in a single day will be September 24, 2182, with a probability of 0.037%.

“Now we only have two gravitational keyholes of more than a kilometer that we should consider,” analyzed Farnocchia, who believes that, although Bennu will ignore most of the other “eyes”, that possibility still exists.

Despite the slim chances of the impact happening, NASA has announced the DART mission, with which it intends to design a half-ton ship that can change the trajectory of asteroids when impacting against them or against one of their “moons” .

“We must remember that the risk from Bennu as an individual asteroid is less than the risks from undiscovered similarly sized objects. That’s why NASA is making a great effort to discover more than 90% of near-Earth objects over 140 meters in size. “Farnocchia concluded.

Protecting the planet seems to mark a new stage in the space race.

A few weeks ago, China proposed launching 23 rockets to deflect the asteroid Bennu, which is now more than 320 million kilometers from Earth.

For its part, the US launched the mission OSIRIS-REx in 2016 to study Bennu and better understand how asteroids work.

“We have never modeled the trajectory of an asteroid with such precision,” Farnocchia said.

Read on: Why we have probably “contaminated” Mars with life (and why it is a problem)



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