Everything you must know about Asteroid Bennu

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Everything you must know about Asteroid Bennu

A near-Earth asteroid that is coming towards our planet after being dislodged by a gravitational pull can indeed strike us and cause massive destruction, but according to experts, it has a only a one in 2,700 chances of hitting.

Such an event will not take place for 150 years and the people living in the year 2135 would know whether the asteroid named Bennu posed an actual threat to hit Earth

OSIRIS-REx Mission

  • It is headed by NASA and the University of Arizona, plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft on September 8 in efforts to reach Bennu in August 2018.
  • OSIRIS-REx will launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on an Atlas V 411 rocket
  • In August 2018, OSIRIS-REx’s approach to Bennu will begin. It will use an array of small rocket thrusters to match the velocity of Bennu.
  • The spacecraft will begin a detailed survey of the asteroid two months after slowing to encounter Bennu. After the selection of the final site, the spacecraft will briefly touch the surface of Bennu to retrieve a sample
  • The sampling arm will make contact with the surface for about five seconds, during which it will release a burst of nitrogen gas. This will cause rocks and surface material to be stirred up and captured in the sampler head
  • In March 2021, the window for departure from the asteroid will open and OSIRIS-REx will begin its return journey to Earth, arriving two and a half years later in September 2023

What are asteroids?

  • Asteroids are small, airless rocky worlds revolving around the sun that are too small to be called planets. They are also known as planetoids or minor planets.
  • In total, the mass of all the asteroids is less than that of Earth’s moon. But despite their size, asteroids can be dangerous. Many have hit Earth in the past, and more will crash into our planetin the future.

What Are The Differences Between An Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite?

  • Asteroid: A relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.
  • Comet: A relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.
  • Meteoroid: A small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.
  • Meteor: The light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star.
  • Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands upon the Earth’s surface.
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