Osiris-Rex, NASA's deep space explorer made a close flyby within a dozen miles of its destination, a skyscraper-sized asteroid named Bennu. Launched in 2016, the Osiris Rex reached the close vicinity of the asteroid on Monday, and it will soon conduct a close-up survey of the space body. Later, the Osiris-Rex will collect samples from the asteroid's surface and will return the materials to the earth for further study.
So, what makes Bennu a special target for astronomers? Let us check out.
Bennu holds the secrets of the universe
Asteroid Bennu is roughly a third of a mile wide and shaped like a massive oak nut. The space body orbits the sun roughly the same distance as the earth, and experts believe that the asteroid is loaded with carbon-based molecules. It should be noted that these carbon-based molecules might be as old as the solar system, and studying these materials will help to know how life formed on earth. Space scientists also speculate that water might have been trapped inside asteroid Bennnu.
Earth to face an apocalypse
Many top-rated scientists believe that catastrophe may be triggered anytime due to some rogue planet or asteroid lurking in the solar system. A few days back, Iain McDonald, a researcher at the Cardiff University claimed that earth will inevitably get hit by a doomsday asteroid one day or the other. As per McDonald, devastating asteroid hits had happened throughout history, and it may happen in the coming years too.
Interestingly, Bennu asteroid is one such space body that has potential to hit earth within the next 150 years. Experts speculate that there is a one in 2700 chance of the asteroid slamming devastatingly on earth, and if it happens, it could result in massive destructions in all nooks of the planet.
As per current calculations, Bennu asteroid will pass closer to Earth than the moon in 2130, and it will come much closer in sometime between 2175 and 2195.
As NASA has started its Bennu exploration, several conspiracy theorists have started claiming that Bennu is actually the doomsday asteroid that could bring apocalypse on the planet. These conspiracy theorists argue that NASA is now trying to deflect the asteroid, and if this plan fails to work out, the United States space agency will try to nuke it.