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Pennu, asteroid with a 0.057% "chance" of hitting Earth - rts.ch

Pennu, asteroid with a 0.057% “chance” of hitting Earth – rts.ch

It is 500 meters in diameter and travels towards the Earth at a speed of 100,000 km per hour. In 2135 the asteroid Pennu will go very close to us, but the probability of impact is very low.

NASA said this week that in just 100 years, Pennu will be closer to Earth, half the distance from our planet to the Moon. The next impact after 2300 was on the order of the minute, an “opportunity” in 1750, the US space agency added.

Discovered in 1999, NASA says Penn is one of only two known asteroids in our solar system that pose a high risk to Earth.

Two-year observations

The US space agency Osiris-Rex spent two years in orbit around Penn, bringing back samples collected when it came in contact with the ground for a few seconds last May.

These models will arrive on Earth in 2023. This mission has made it possible to study this asteroid very closely and to significantly improve its future path predictions.

By 2300, scientists concluded that the chances of a collision with Earth were only 0.057%. “In other words, there’s a 99.94% chance that Pennu will not be on an impact path,” said David Fornocia, a scientist at NASA’s nearby Earth Object Survey. “So no need to worry too much.”

“Gravity key hole”

It is true that on September 2135, Pennu will pass very close to Earth. This offers the possibility of crossing the so-called “gravitational hole”: an area that slightly changes the orbit of the asteroid due to the gravitational influence of our planet, so that it goes in a path. Future conflict.

Prior to the Osiris-Rex mission, 26 “keyholes” a kilometer or more were on the way to Pennu in 2135. Thanks to the analyzes allowed by the Osiris-Rex study, scientists were able to exclude 24 of them, two.

According to them, the most likely date of impact would be 2182. If that happens, the event will be catastrophic. “Typically, the size of a crater is 10 to 20 times the size of an object,” said Lindley Johnson of NASA’s Planetary Coordination Office, or Penn, which is 5 to 10 kilometers in diameter. “But the destruction zone will be much larger than that, 100 times larger than the size of the abyss,” he said.

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