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The most dangerous asteroid known to NASA

The most dangerous asteroid known to NASA

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The asteroid “Bennu” is No. 1 on NASA’s risk list. But it does not pose an acute danger. (File photo) © NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Imago

The asteroid Bennu is currently of particular interest to science. But there is also a small risk that this will affect the Earth in the future.

Munich – The asteroid “(101955) Bennu” is currently the focus of science, because the American space agency NASA wants, on Sunday, September 24, to bring a soil sample from this asteroid to Earth using the “Osiris-Rex” space probe. Then the focus will be on researching asteroid rocks. But Bennu is not just an asteroid, it is the most dangerous asteroid currently known to NASA.

The asteroid, named after the ancient Egyptian goddess of the dead, Bennu, is at the top of NASA’s list of dangers. With a diameter of about 500 meters and an orbit around the sun that takes just 437 days, Bennu could one day become dangerous to Earth. the NASA hazard list It identifies a total of 157 possible dates for the years 2178 to 2290 in which the asteroid could hit Earth.

Asteroid Bennu may hit Earth in 2182

But there’s no need to worry about Bennu: Although there’s about a 1 in 1750 chance that the asteroid will hit Earth by 2300, that value is negligible upon closer inspection. NASA has identified September 24, 2182 as the date with the greatest chance of the asteroid Bennu colliding with Earth. It has been identified. According to the authority, the probability of impact on this day is 0.037 percent – and there is no reason for concern either.

If, despite all probability, the asteroid collides with the Earth, the effects on the area it struck will be enormous: a crater with a diameter of more than six kilometers will be created and the impacts will still be clearly felt outside this crater. However, Bennu’s impact cannot be compared to the asteroid whose impact caused the extinction of dinosaurs and many other animal species 66 million years ago. It is estimated that the diameter of this celestial body is 14 kilometers.

NASA’s Osiris-Rex probe transports a soil sample from the asteroid Bennu to Earth

Therefore, the asteroid “Bennu” is dangerous – but it was not chosen for the Osiris-Rex sample retrieval mission for this reason. According to NASA, its selection has more to do with the asteroid being relatively close to Earth and having the right size. The research hopes to use the collected asteroid material to learn more about the past of the solar system, because “Bennu” is a remnant of the turbulent eras in which the solar system was formed.

(101955) PINO (1999 RQ36)
Apollo asteroid
September 11, 1999
Linear project
437 days
Approximately 500 metres

Some researchers also call asteroids “time capsules from the early days of the solar system” because they still contain material from that time and have been preserved in the vacuum of space. Scientists also want to use Bennu to find out what role asteroids may have played in the emergence of life on Earth.

How do we protect Earth from asteroids?

Of course, science also wants to learn more about asteroids by searching for Bennu. How do they form, how do they behave, and how can the Earth be protected from them in the worst cases? In this context, Benno focuses mainly on the so-called “Jarkowski effect.” When sunlight hits the celestial body, the irregular surface of the asteroid is heated differently – this phenomenon can affect the asteroid’s trajectory and should be better taken into account when calculating the trajectory in the future. (unpaid bill)