NASA recently updated its forecast of the likelihood that asteroid Bennu will collide with Earth in the next 300 years. According to new calculations, the probability is 1 in 1750, which is slightly higher than scientists previously thought. Two statisticians estimated the likelihood of a space object colliding with a planet.
The space agency, which has tracked Bennu since the discovery of the asteroid in 1999, has revised the forecast based on new data. Calculations showed that the probability increased slightly – 1 chance in 1750 that Bennu’s Earth would crash into Earth.
Nevertheless, scientists from Harvard University are confident that the events of the science fiction film “Armageddon” will not be repeated. Experts also recalled the mission that NASA plans to launch in November. Scientists want to find out on the spot whether the impact of the spacecraft will help to hit a large space rock change the trajectory of the asteroid in case it ever needs it.
Associate professors of statistics at Harvard University, Lucas B. Janson and Morgan Austern, compared the chances of Bennu hitting Earth. This is also likely as:
- Toss a coin 11 times and make the “heads” all the times;
- Hit the bull’s-eye by throwing a dart at the target with your eyes closed.
(101955) Bennu is a near-Earth asteroid belonging to the Apollo group, which was discovered as part of the LINEAR asteroid search project at the Socorro Observatory. In 2013, it was named after the Bennu bird, the symbol of the resurrection of Osiris – the king of the underworld in ancient Egyptian mythology.