NASA predicts large asteroid could smash into Earth in 159 years


NASA scientists have predicted there is a chance that a massive asteroid they have been tracking could smash into earth in the year 2182, potentially devastating an area the size of Texas.

Bennu, a Near-Earth Object (NEO), orbits the earth roughly every six years and has been on the space agency’s radar since 1999 when it was first discovered.

There have been three close encounters involving Bennu in 1999, 2005, and 2011, scientists said.

On September 25, 2135, Bennu will make a close fly-by past Earth and has a miniscule chance through a pass through a “gravitational keyhole” that would send the space rock on a collision course for the planet in 2182 — 159 years from now.

A paper from the OSIRIS-REx science team gives Bennu just a 1 in 2,700 chance — or 0.037% — of impacting Earth on September 24, 2182.

This image of Bennu was created using observations made by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft, which studied the asteroid in close proximity for over two years.
NASA/Goddard/Uni Arizona/SWNS

A model of the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security  Regolith Explorer) lies in a field during a sample capsule recovery rehearsal on June 27, 2023,
Scientists have been practicing retrieving the space craft when it returns to Earth on Sunday.
AFP via Getty Images

The impact of the asteroid, which is about a third of a mile wide, could ravage a massive area of Earth’s surface and unleash the energy of roughly 22 atomic bombs, according to

The blast would still only be a fraction of the impact of the massive asteroid believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, which is estimated to have been about 6-miles wide.

OSIRIS-REx – an acronym for Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer – briefly landed a craft on Bennu and collected about 2 pounds of rock and dirt samples in 2020.

Team members monitor the capsule's operations during NASA's first major asteroid sample recovery rehearsal for its OSIRIS-REx
Team members monitor the capsule’s operations during NASA’s first major asteroid sample recovery rehearsal for its OSIRIS-REx in June.
AFP via Getty Images

The first asteroid sample collected is expected to crash land in Utah on Sunday, according to ABC News.

Astrophysicist Hakeem Oluyesi told the outlet the completion of the 7-year mission will change what people know about the origins of our solar system.

“This is pure untainted material revealing early solar system secrets. A longshot discovery would be finding biological molecules or even precursor molecules for life,” Oluyesi said.


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