Asteroid Bennu: Orbit path of huge space rock that could DESTROY Earth | Science | News

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Asteroid 101955 Bennu – or simply Bennu – has a relatively high chance of crashing into Earth in 2135.

At an estimated 500 metres in length, the mega rock would be unlikely to end life on Earth, but could cause widespread devastation and even wipe out a country.

The asteroid is set to pass close to the Earth in 2135.

So close in fact, that it is feared the gravitational pull of our planet could pull it in.

Experts say that there is a one in 2,700 chance that Bennu could hit Earth in 2135, and while those odds seem to be in our favour, they are minuscule in astronomical terms.

Bennu was discovered by the Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) Project on September 11, 1999.

The asteroid passes our orbit every six years, coming as close as 180,000 miles of Earth, or as far away as 211 million miles.

A map of the orbital path of Bennu from NASA shows that the asteroid swings around the sun in between Mars and Earth.

However, it regularly crosses our orbital path and experts fear that it is getting closer and closer, until one day the space rock will collide with Earth.

Kirsten Howley, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory who is part of the planetary defence team, said: “The consequences would be dire.

“This study aims to help us shorten the response timeline when we do see a clear and present danger so we can have more options to deflect it.

“The ultimate goal is to be ready to protect life on Earth.

“The probability of a Bennu impact may be 1 in 2,700 today, but that will almost certainly change – for better or worse – as we gather more data about its orbit.”



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