The chance of a collision with a ‘doomsday asteroid’ is higher than expected

The chance of a collision with a ‘doomsday asteroid’ is higher than expected

The astrologers have clarified the prospects for the Earth’s collision with the asteroid Benn – a colossus that could one day decimate our civilization.

The earth has been bombarded with asteroids throughout its history. Many had devastating consequences. Their silent witnesses are the craters that the planet is dotted with.

Our civilization is fortunate that no major “impactor” has fallen on Earth during its existence. But no happiness lasts forever. That’s why astrologers observe the universe and calculate the orbits of asteroids.

At the same time in the same place …

One of the dangerous asteroids is Bennu – a colossus we must have respect for. This huge boulder, which looks like an unfinished or deformed ball, has a diameter of five football pitches. It would weigh 79 million tons on Earth.

Bennu in comparison with the iconic buildings of Western civilization. | source:
NASA

Along with the asteroid 1950 AD Bennu ranks among the most dangerous known asteroids in the solar system.

Bennu orbits the Sun in 1.2 Earth years. Its orbit intersects with the Earth’s orbit, so it cannot be ruled out that both bodies will be in the same place at the same time. Such a situation would have catastrophic consequences.

Benn’s impact on Earth could bring our civilization back thousands of years, or wipe it out completely. It would have a power of 1,200 megatons of TNT, which is equivalent to the explosion of 80,000 atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima.

Prospects for the future

The probability of a collision with this asteroid is low, but not negligible, it is a pinch higher than scientists until recently assumed. This is the result of new calculations based on data collected last year by Ben NASA from the NASA probe. OSIRIS-REx.


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Asteroid Bennu in a detailed composite image composed of data from the OSIRIS-REx probe. | source:
Profimedia

The calculations show that by 2030, the total (cumulative) chance of a collision with the asteroid Benna will be 0.057 percent, ie 1 in 1750.

The new data also shows that the date we should worry about is more than 150 years away, September 24, 2182. Then Benna will have a 0.037 percent chance of hitting Earth, a 1 in 2700 probability.

Earlier, scientists used this ratio to evaluate the overall probability by 2200. And even before that, shortly after Benn’s discovery in 1999, NASA estimated the chance of a collision with Earth at 1 in 8000.

Nuclear or conventional defense?

Obviously, you don’t have to quickly look for a guide on how to survive the impact of a space killer. The risk for future generations also seems negligible. But in the category of space collisions, it can be considered high and a collision cannot be ruled out.

Apocalyptic impacts of asteroids such as Bennu are not only addressed by Hollywood filmmakers, such as the catastrophic films Armageddon and Crushing Impact.

Researchers from NASA and the National Office for Nuclear Safety have submitted a plan for a project called HAMMER. Its goal is to direct a vessel loaded with nuclear ammunition to an asteroid in the event of a real threat. Its explosion should scatter the body.

A team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences again proposed to send 23 Long March 5 launchers against Benn and verify whether their impacts would deflect its trajectory.

The data we need

“The data from the OSIRIS-REx probe provided us with much more accurate information. We were able to calculate the future trajectory of Benn with a high and so far highest degree of accuracy until 2135, “NASA’s server quoted asteroid expert David Farnocchi as saying.

New data, for example, helped astronomers calculate the Jarkovsky effect. Named after the Russian physicist Ivan Osipovich Jarkovsky, the phenomenon is based on the fact that the asteroid radiates heat more strongly in the hemisphere facing the Sun than on the shadow side, and this changes its orbit.

Other influences that the scientific team took into account and describes in a professional journal Science Direct, were the gravitational fields of the Sun, other planets and their moons, other asteroids, the solar wind, or resistance caused by cosmic dust.

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