BEACON TRANSCRIPT – According to NASA officials, asteroid Bennu is not an immediate threat to Planet Earth. The new mission which is going to take samples out of the asteroid will probably discover amazing things, but it will not deviate the asteroid from its trajectory to avoid the planet’s destruction. That’s because the planet is not in that much of danger.
There’s only a slim, 0.037 percent chance that Bennu could strike Earth sometime in the last quarter of the twenty-second century – as calculated by astronomers.
Asteroid Bennu is a 1,650 foot-wide rock which is going to be explored by NASA’s OSIRIS-RE spaceship. The unmanned mission is going to launch next month.
The asteroid is not nearly big enough to threaten a planet like Earth, despite what some media outlets have declared over the week end. Bennu also lacks the energy needed to wipe out the Earth.
If everything goes as it should, the 800 million dollar mission dubbed OSIRIS-Rex will take off from Cape Canaveral Air Base in Florida on the eighth of September.
It will take two years for the spacecraft to reach Bennu. It will land on Bennu in August 2018. The sophisticated machine will then have a look at the asteroid from orbit, for two more years, and then it will sample 2.1 ounces (sixty grams) of space rock from the surface, in July of 2020.
The team behind the mission wants to find out whether carbon-rich objects like Bennu could have played a role in bringing life to Earth. The asteroid could have carried organic material or water which could have led to the creation of the environments where life first developed.
Other mission objectives are to learn more about the resources which such asteroids could hold. If they’re rich in rare minerals, we may see more asteroids being explored and possibly mined for rare metals.
Even if there’s only chance out of 2,700 for the asteroid to strike Earth, NASA’s not worried. That’s because, in that case, we could de-tour the asteroid from its course by using gravity tractors, or even nuclear weapons if time was short.
The asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs was at least 6 miles across, compared to Bennu, which has got just one-tenth of that size.
Image Source – Wikipedia