The asteroid Ben, which poses a threat to Earth, still has a very low chance of hitting the planet in the next century.
“We shouldn’t be too worried,” said David Farnokia, a scientist at NASA’s center in Pasadena, California.
The chances of the Earth being hit by an asteroid have increased – from 2700/1 to 1,750/1, but scientists now have a much better insight into the orbit of Benoit thanks to the Osiris-Rex module, Farnokia added.
“Generally, I think the situation has improved,” Farnokia said.
It would destroy an area 100 times larger than itself
The module returns to Earth after a long collection of parts from a large asteroid, which is considered one of the two most dangerous asteroids in the solar system. Parts from the asteroid will be on Earth in 2023, and Osiris-Rex arrived at Ben in 2018.
Ben will have a close encounter with the Earth 2,135, when it will pass at a distance that is twice less than the distance from the Moon.
If Ben hit Earth, it would not destroy life on the planet, but would create a crater that is 10 to 20 times larger than an asteroid, said Lindley Johnson, a planetary defense expert at NASA.
The affected area would be much larger – 100 times larger than the crater itself.