Bennu, discovered in 1999 and measuring 500 meters in diameter, is one of the two known asteroids in our solar system posing the most risk to Earth.
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Asteroid Bennu will pass very close to Earth in 2135, just half the distance from our planet to the Moon, NASA said on Wednesday (August 11). The US Space Agency took the opportunity to reveal new data according to which the chances of a subsequent impact, by 2300, remain slim.
Bennu, discovered in 1999 and measuring 500 meters in diameter, is one of the two known asteroids in our solar system posing the most risk to Earth, according to NASA. The Osiris-Rex probe spent two years in orbit around Bennu. She left it last May to bring back samples collected during a contact of a few seconds with the ground, and which will arrive on Earth in 2023. The mission made it possible to study the asteroid very closely, and to dramatically improve predictions on its future trajectory. By 2300, the chance of a collision with Earth is only 0.057%, the scientists concluded.
Why are we not 100% sure? In September 2135, Bennu will pass very close to Earth. This will give him the opportunity to cross what is called a “gravitational keyhole” : an area that would slightly alter the trajectory of the asteroid, due to the gravitational influence of our planet, thus putting it on a future collision course.