A relatively new study has been able to predict the exact date for asteroid Bennu’s highest chance of impacting Earth.
NASA created the Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) back in 2016 with the goal of having a team of individuals monitoring any asteroids that may be potentially dangerous to Earth. Additionally, the team is also tasked with finding prevention methods if an asteroid is found to be dangerous. Asteroid Bennu is categorized as potentially dangerous as its orbits will come within 125,000 miles.
At the moment, Bennu is located about 200 million miles away, but according to Freethink.com, it was discovered that in the year 2135 the asteroid that’s anywhere between 0.31 miles and 6.2 miles in diameter, will pass within 125,000 miles of Earth, or about half the distance between Earth and the moon. PDCO Director Lindley Johnson spoke to the New York Times and said, “[A] half-kilometer-sized object is going to create a crater that’s at least five kilometers in diameter, and it can be as much as 10 kilometers in diameter.“
Adding, “But the area of devastation is going to be much, much broader than that, as much as 100 times the size of the crater,” he continued. “So an object Bennu’s size impacting on the Eastern Seaboard states would pretty much devastate things up and down the coast.“
NASA has said that the trajectory of the asteroid has never been modeled to this level of precision before, according to Davide Farnocchia, the lead author of the study.
“The OSIRIS-REx data give us so much more precise information, we can test the limits of our models and calculate the future trajectory of Bennu to a very high degree of certainty through 2135. We’ve never modeled an asteroid’s trajectory to this precision before“, said Farnocchia.
While the study’s precision is sound, the researchers have said that Earth is safe from the asteroid despite how close it will be passing. “I’m not any more concerned about Bennu than I was before“, said Farnocchia.
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