Asteroid 101955 Bennu, formally known as 1999 RQ36, is a PHO listed on the Sentry Risk Table with the second-highest cumulative rating on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale. Investigators have already warned NASA that it could be devastating if they do not act, and, according to a study by scientist Maria Eugenia Sansaturio, the 1999 asteroid may even strike Earth. Dr Sansaturio warned in a report for the Solar System journal Icarus that there is a good chance of the asteroid striking.
She told Universe Today in 2010: “The total impact probability of asteroid 1999 RQ36 can be estimated as 0.00092, approximately one-in-a-thousand chance, but what is most surprising is that over half of this chance (0.00054) corresponds to 2182.”
Now, YouTube channel Destiny has explained exactly what is going on.
They said earlier this month: ”It is a potentially hazardous object that is listed on the Sentry Risk Table with the second-highest cumulative rating on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale and it’s getting closer to Earth every minute.
“Names after the ancient Egyptian mythological bird associated with Sun, creation and rebirth, the asteroid was heavily observed by scientists in the Arecibo observatory and the Goldstone Deep Space Network as it came closer to Earth on September 23, 1999.
The asteroid is threatening Earth
There are millions of asteroids in space
It is very possible that this one could end up eventually hitting the planet
“It is an ancient relic of our Solar System early days, dating back to more than 4.5 billion years and scientists think it likely broke off from a much larger asteroid about 700 million years ago.
“However, the gravitational pull of Saturn dislodged it from the [asteroid] belt and it has drifted much closer to the Earth since then.”
The channel went on to reveal when the asteroid could strike.
It added: “It is very possible that this one could end up eventually hitting the planet in the last quarter of the 22nd century.
“it is roughly 1,640 feet in diameter, about the same height at the Empire State Building in New York and orbits the Sun once every two years and every six years comes very close to Earth, within 0.002 astronomical units, about 186,000 miles.
Bennu is flying through space at 63,000mph
“This rocky rubble pile asteroid weighs 68 million tonnes and an average orbital speed of 63,000mph.
“Bennu has a 1/2700 chance of hitting the Earth, but such an event wouldn’t take place until 2175, or 2196.
“But it won’t be until 2135 that researchers will be able to get a better idea of its collision course.”
The series explained how a gravitational keyhole could be the cause of devastating effects.
It continued: “If Bennu enters the keyhole between the Earth and the Moon, it’s possible its orbit could shift, so it would likely hit the Earth.
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The rock could hit Earth in the 23rd century
NASA has a plan to save the world
“During atmospheric entry, Bennu would begin to break up at an altitude of 236,000 feet, hitting the Earth at a velocity of 27,000mph.
“The impact would release energy equivalent to 1,450 megatons of TNT, the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated had a yield of 50 megatons.
“If you total up all the nuclear testing in history, you are looking at 510 megatons, so Bennu would release three times more energy than all nuclear weapons in history.
“With that in mind, the crater left behind would measure 4,500 metres in diameter and 1,200 metres deep.”
However, NASA has a plan.
The space agency is currently running a mission with its OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to find out more about the rock.
The spacecraft spent two years chasing Bennu down, before orbiting it for another two years and taking samples.
Then, in 2023, it will blast back to Earth to allow scientists from around the world to study it.
The mission team is particularly interested in learning the role that asteroids like Bennu – dark, primitive and apparently carbon-rich – may have played in creating life on Earth.
It will also help scientists to refine the odds of a strike on Earth.