Asteroid warning! Space junk the size of Empire State Building leaves scientists on alert

THERE are fears an asteroid the size of the Empire State Building is heading close to Earth some time between now and the year 2300.

Asteroid Bennu: NASA sheds light on near-earth object

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Asteroid Bennu is considered the second most hazardous known asteroid in the solar system. However, experts pointed out it is unlikely to collide with the Earth before 2182.

The C-type asteroid was first discovered in 1999.

According to researchers at NASA, chances of a crash have increased and are now between 1 in 2,700 (about 0.037 percent).

NASA confirmed the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was deployed to monitor the asteroid’s movements.

The study, titled Ephemeris and hazard assessment for near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennubased on OSIRIS-REx data, revealed there is an overall probability for collision on September 24, 2182.

Asteroid warning

Asteroid warning! Space junk the size of Empire State Building will come close to Earth (Image: Getty)

However, experts believe no further action is needed.

Earlier this week, planetary scientist Lindley Johnson of Nasa’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office said at a press briefing: “I don’t think we need to do anything about Bennu.”

During a mission in late 2020, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft collected a sampled from Bennu.

From the sample, it was it was deduced that the asteroid is very dark and ancient.

NASA’s study is published in the journal Icarus.

Asteroid warning: Launch of a rocket carrying the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft from Cape Canaveral

Launch of a rocket carrying the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft from Cape Canaveral (Image: Getty)

A statement from NASA read: “In 2135, asteroid Bennu will make a close approach with Earth

“Although the near-Earth object will not pose a danger to our planet at that time, scientists must understand Bennu’s exact trajectory during that encounter in order to predict how Earth’s gravity will alter the asteroid’s path around the sun – and affect the hazard of [future] Earth impact.

“Using NASA’s Deep Space Network and state-of-the-art computer models, scientists were able to significantly shrink uncertainties in Bennu’s orbit, determining its total impact probability through the year 2300 is about 1 in 1,750 (or 0.057 percent).

“The researchers were also able to identify Sept 24, 2182, as the most significant single date in terms of a potential impact, with an impact probability of 1 in 2,700 (or about 0.037 percent).”


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Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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