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'If Bennu collides with our planet, it will be somewhat disastrous'

‘If Bennu collides with our planet, it will be somewhat disastrous’

Astronomers first discovered Bennu in 1999. Why did the asteroid suddenly attract attention again?

NASA researchers sent the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to Bennu in 2016 to gather more information about the asteroid’s surface. In this way they wanted to determine the path of the space object as accurately as possible in the coming centuries. In May, OSIRIS-REx began its two-year return to Earth journey, and has since been relaying some of the data it collected. This indicates that the chance of Bennu hitting the ground is greater than expected. Between the years 2135 and 2300, the probability of a collision with our planet was 1 in 1750.”

To what extent will the impact of what change life on Earth?

“If Bennu collides with our planet, it will be somewhat catastrophic. The asteroid can, of course, destroy the areas where people live and live, but landing in the sea near the coast also poses a danger. Then the impact can lead to a tsunami. However, there are a number of The factors that determine the severity of a possible collision are currently unknown. The diameter of the space rock is 500 meters, but it is possible that part of it may be cut off. This would be good news. The impact of a small asteroid is less significant. By comparison, the diameter of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was thought to be 150 kilometers. So Benno is far from that.”

NASA is still talking about a “chance to crash.” Why is it so difficult to provide security?

There are many laws of physics that operate on an asteroid and help determine its path. For example, as soon as a space object like Bennu approaches the sun, the temperature of one side of it rises. This process could completely reverse the direction of the asteroid. This is why it is so important that OSIRIS-REx map the Bennu surface: that way we can better anticipate these changes.”

There is a lot of interest in Bennu, but isn’t there a greater danger looming in the space objects on their way to our planet that we haven’t seen yet?

We must not lose sight of this danger. Asteroids themselves do not radiate and can only reflect light. So it is not always easy to detect them with dark samples. Two years ago, it turned out that the 2019 asteroid penetrated the Earth well, while no one expected it. ”

“If an asteroid appears tomorrow and threatens to hit our planet almost immediately, we will not be ready to do anything about it. There are theoretical designs for satellites that could be launched in the direction of space objects, but they have not yet been built. I think it will take another 10 years before they can be used. I think it is important to invest in its development. The situation is difficult and unpredictable, but we cannot wait for the real disaster to come to us to do something about the situation.”

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