NASA Asteroid Bennu: Earth-bound killer space rock has terrifying mass of 78 BILLION kilos | Science | News

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The huge asteroid, known as Bennu, has a massive diameter of more than 500 metres, and experts believe that even nuclear bombing it will not be enough to save our planet.

Research from NASA shows that the asteroid, which it is predicted could hit our planet in 2135, has a weight of 78 billion kilograms.

That weight is the equivalent 13,000,000 African Bush Elephants – the largest land-dwelling animal at 6,000 kilograms – or more than 557,000 Blue Whales – the heaviest animal on Earth at 140,000 kilograms.

Although Bennu would seem apocalyptically huge, it would not be big enough to destroy Earth.

The asteroid which helped to wipe out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago weighed an estimated one quadrillion kilograms, and while that helped to contribute to the downfall of a species, it did not destroy Earth.

However, Bennu would still have the potential to unleash the power of 1,200 megatons of energy on impact – 80,000 times that of the nuclear bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.

Experts say 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.

For reference, scientists believe the odds of complex life arising on a planet is one in 10 Duodecillion – as a number that is one in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 – yet here we are.

It is also worth reminding that Leicester City Football Team were 5,000 to one to win the Premier League in 2016, but they also defied the odds.

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

The space rock 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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