Tags: asteroid | hit | earth | near-miss | 2135

Asteroid to Hit Earth If 2135 Near-Miss Tweaks Its Orbit?

Image: Asteroid to Hit Earth If 2135 Near-Miss Tweaks Its Orbit?

 The asteroid Bennu. (NASA Goddard via YouTube)

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Aug 2016 07:53 AM

An asteroid may hit Earth if its predicted near-miss in 2135 tweaks its orbit enough to swing the killer rock named Bennu right into our planet's path on the next go-around about 40 years later.

(No, you won't be around for it -- but a baby born today would be about 150 years old by then, and health techies say that's a possibility.)

Bennu is about 1,650 feet wide, enough to severely damage but not destroy Earth. If Bennu  passes through the "keyhole" between Earth and the moon during its near-miss pass in 2135, then it has a 1-in-2700 chance to hit Earth, but that wouldn't happen until 2175 or 2196, according to ABC News.

"I wish I could be around in 2135 to see what happens," Dante Lauretta, a professor of planetary science and cosmochemistry at the University of Arizona told ABC News. Lauretta is the principal investigator on a mission that will take a closer look at Bennu and even collect soil samples from the asteroid.

The OSIRIS-Rex mission, led by NASA and the University of Arizona, will launch Sept. 8. The unnamed spaceship will spend nearly two years chasing the asteroid before catching up with in in August 2018, noted ABC News.

The spaceship will survey the asteroid, briefly touch its surface to collect samples, then return to Earth by 2023, according to the mission's website.

"We believe Bennu is a time capsule from the very beginnings of our solar system," said Lauretta. "So the sample can potentially hold answers to the most fundamental questions human beings ask, like 'Where do we come from?'"

The spaceship will also assist scientists in refining Bennu's odds of hitting Earth, but researchers have already learned a lot about its orbit since it was discovered in 1999, said Space.com. Lauretta said astronomers believe they have Bennu's orbital radius down to within 20 feet.

"Our uncertainties will shrink, so that will allow us to recalculate the impact probability," Lauretta said. "We don't know which direction it'll go. It could go down, because we just eliminated a bunch of possible keyholes that Bennu may hit. Or it may go up, because in the area that's left we have a higher concentration of keyholes compared to the overall area of the uncertainty plane."

And if Bennu actually hits Earth, Lauretta told Space.com it could cause significant damage but would not end life on the planet.

"We're not talking about an asteroid that could destroy the Earth," Lauretta said. "We're not anywhere near that kind of energy for an impact."

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
An asteroid may hit Earth if its predicted near-miss in 2135 tweaks its orbit enough to swing the killer rock named Bennu right into our planet's path on the next go-around about 40 years later.
asteroid, hit, earth, near-miss, 2135
427
2016-53-02
Tuesday, 02 Aug 2016 07:53 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved