NASA launches probe to investigate huge asteroid it fears could one day hit Earth1 min read

The space ageny plans to collect samples from the giant space rock to find out the risk it poses

The space rock is due to pass BETWEEN the Earth and the moon in 2135 – a distance of around 290,000 km away.

The asteroid is half a kilometre in diameter and travels at 63,000 miles per hour.

asteroid that could have once seeded life, but may now destroy Earth | Nasa

asteroid that could have once seeded life, but may now destroy Earth | Nasa

It was discovered in 1999 and has been a concern for scientists due to the potential risks for Earth.

To evaluate exactly how much of a risk the asteroid poses, NASA is launching a probe to collect rock samples to help find out more about the rock and what impact it could have.

Dante Lauretta, Professor of Planetary Science at Arizona University, and the NASA expert in charge of the mission said: “That 2135 fly-by is going to tweak Bennu’s orbit, potentially putting it on course for the Earth later that century.”

“We estimate the chance of impact at about one in 2,700 between 2175 and 2196.

“It may be destined to cause immense suffering and death.”

The force of the asteroid hitting the Earth would be the equivalent of three billion tonnes of high explosive.

Professor Mark Bailey, emeritus director of the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland and an expert on impact risks, shared the concerns over the asteroid.

Sebastien Clarke
Sebastien Clarke

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