NASA has announced that there is a slight possibility of the asteroid Bennu colliding with Earth on a specific date in September, 159 years from now. This asteroid, which passes close to Earth every six years, is estimated to have a strength equivalent to 22 atomic bombs. Although the chances of a collision are very low, NASA is in the final phase of its mission to prevent a potential disaster.
Rich Burns, the project manager of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission, stated that they are currently in the last stage of their seven-year journey to avert the collision. Burns described the situation as the final kilometers of a marathon, filled with mixed emotions of pride, joy, and a focused determination to successfully complete the mission.
The announcement of a possible asteroid collision in 159 years sparked various reactions among internet users. Some found humor in the distance of the timeline, while others pointed out that the news “came too late” for anyone alive today to witness it. Social media platforms were flooded with hilarious and sarcastic responses to the asteroid prediction.
But what exactly is the asteroid Bennu? Discovered in 1999, Bennu is an asteroid known to pass close to Earth every six years. It is estimated to be similar in size or even larger than the Empire State Building. NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft landed on Bennu’s surface in 2020 and collected samples for analysis.
NASA reassures the public by stating that the probability of the asteroid Bennu colliding with Earth is very low. However, in the event of a collision, potential damages could extend up to 600 miles from the impact site. NASA claims that there is a 1 in 1,750 chance of Bennu impacting Earth.
Sources: NASA, Sunday Telegraph