Asteroid Bennu 101955 (Representational Image)
Feelings of angst, as well as apprehensions of an impending apocalypse, to be precise an asteroid hit, has gripped the humanity in the last few months. Just when we took a sigh of relief at not being hit by several newly found asteroids, scientists at NASA's Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) have warned us of another asteroid hit on Tuesday.
Yes! The Asteroid Bennu 101955, which was captured by NASA's OSIRIS-REX spacecraft in June this year, is likely to approach the Earth on Tuesday. As per the latest reports, 101955 Bennu or Asteroid Bennu, will be just 4.2 million kilometres away from the planet.
Asteroid Bennu is a carbonaceous asteroid in the Apollo group discovered by the LINEAR Project on 11 September 1999. It has a mean diameter of approximately 492 metre (the size of the Empire State building) and it may collide with our planet in 2135.
The gigantic asteroid has an estimated weight of 79 billion kilograms has been observed extensively with the Arecibo Observatory planetary radar and the Goldstone Deep Space Network.
Notably, NASA has already released the closest shot of the Asteroid Bennu, taken by its asteroid-sampling OSIRIS-REx spacecraft on June 13. Shortly after capturing the space rock, NASA in a statement said, "This image of asteroid Bennu was captured on June 13, 2019, shortly after NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft executed its second orbital insertion manoeuvre".
"From the spacecraft's vantage point in orbit, half of Bennu is sunlit and half is in shadow. Bennu's largest boulder can also be seen protruding from the southern hemisphere. The image was taken from a distance of 0.4 miles (690 m) above the asteroid's surface by NavCam 1, one of three navigation cameras that comprise the spacecraft's TAGCAMS (the Touch-and-Go Camera System) suite. At this distance, details as small as 1.6 ft (0.5 m) across can be resolved in the centre of the image," it added.
Earlier, NASA had the plans to deflect this asteroid using the planetary defence weapon. However, several experts believe that the space agency will not succeed in deviating the collision course of Bennu due to its gigantic size and weight.