NASA predicts that this huge asteroid will cause the end of Earth if we don’t do anything to stop it
NASA has been keeping an eye out for “Armageddon” like situations in space. The 1998 movie depicted a scenario in which an asteroid was on its way to collide with Earth, which would have caused mass destruction and possible annihilation of Earth. NASA has in fact identified several asteroids with potential to impact Earth in future. Here is one of the asteroids that is closest to impacting Earth according to NASA.
1 The huge asteroid
This huge asteroid is named Bennu and it is a carbonaceous asteroid in the Apollo group discovered in 1999 by the LINEAR project. It ranks second on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale in the Sentry Risk Table list as a potential Earth impactor asteroid. It has a chance of 1 in 2,700 of impacting Earth in the late 22nd century, around the year 2135. The proper name of the Asteroid is 101955 Bennu and it has a diameter of 492 meters and it has been under constant observation by Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar and the Goldstone Deep Space Network.
2 The extinction scenario
NASA has predicted that the Bennu asteroid may impact Earth as it passes the Earth in 2135 and the Moon’s orbit might jerk it into the path of Earth and causing it to crash into Earth with full force. “That 2135 fly-by is going to tweak Bennu’s orbit, potentially putting it on course for the Earth later that century,” Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator said. According to the investigator, the impact would result in immediate suffering and painful extinction of a part of the human race and severe destruction of Earth. Though it is not big enough to destroy the whole of Earth, it may cause significant damage. When compared to the asteroid that caused the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago which was 6 miles across, Bennu pales with its diameter of 492 meters.
3 Research on the asteroid
NASA has set up the OSIRIS-REx mission, which will help astrophysicists chalk out a plan in order to deal with asteroids that can potentially collide with Earth in near future. “If astronomers someday identify an asteroid that presents a significant impact hazard to Earth, the first step will be to gather more information about that asteroid. Fortunately, the OSIRIS-REx mission will have given us the experience and tools needed to do the job,” explained Edward Beshore, Deputy Principal Investigator for the mission. The mission will collect samples from Bennu asteroid, since it holds the clues to the origin of the solar system, given that it was formed 4.5 billion years ago from the material coming from dying stars like red giants and supernovae during the birth of solar system or the Big Bang. Its composition was established during the first 10 million years of solar system formation.