Will Bennu hit Earth? NASA projection, size, what to know

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A space rock is making big news this weekend. It could make even bigger news in the next century.

Near-Earth asteroid Bennu, the subject of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission scheduled to return to Earth Sunday morning, will likely strike our planet a little more than 150 years from now. NASA scientists predicted In a recent study.

Fortunately, it’s a small chance.

What is the mission of OSIRUS-REx? What happens on Sunday?

OSIRUS-REx — an unmanned, solar-powered spacecraft the size of a household warehouse — has traveled 4.4 billion miles over the past seven years to bring back samples from Bennu.

On September 8, 2016, NASA launched the spacecraft into space to collect samples from the asteroid to tell us more about its formation as well as the creation of the solar system.

OSIRIS-REx — which stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer — is the United States’ first attempt to retrieve and analyze samples from an asteroid.

The $800 million mission is expected to end when an estimated half-pound of rock from the asteroid parachutes into the Utah Test and Training Area, 80 miles west of Salt Lake City, on Sunday morning.

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NASA will livestream the landing and collected samples will be sent to a laboratory in Houston for examination.

How could Bennu reach Earth?

NASA said Bennu, classified as a near-Earth object (NEO), could pass through a “gravitational hole” in 2182, causing it to collide with Earth. However, there is a 1 in 2,700 chance, or 0.037%, of Bennu hitting our planet that year.

The asteroid passes Earth every six years He had three close encounters with Earth in 1999, 2005, and 2011. The experts said in a new paper. Bennu is also expected to pass closer to Earth than to the Moon in 2135, and if it does, our planet’s gravity could put it on track to collide with Earth on September 24, 2182.

He watches: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe returns to Earth from asteroid Bennu

What is beano?

Bennu was first discovered in 1999, and is thought to be part of… A larger asteroid Which collided with another space rock. It is about a third of a mile wide, which is roughly the height of the Empire State Building, according to NASA.

Its black surface is full of rocks, and it orbits the sun every 14 months.

Bennu is rich in carbon and is believed to be A The remaining part From the formation of the solar system, a time capsule of sorts may help shed light on the origin of life.

It was an asteroid It is named after an Egyptian god In 2013 by a nine-year-old boy from North Carolina. Benu is the ancient Egyptian god associated with the sun, creation, and rebirth.

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He watches: How NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will return the asteroid Bennu sample to Earth

No solar eclipse glasses? For an October “ring of fire,” try a cracker or slotted spoon

Contributing: George Petras, Ramon Padilla, Janet Lohrke, USA TODAY

Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.

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