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Extinction-Level Asteroid May Eventually Hit Earth

| by Nicholas Roberts
AsteroidAsteroid

A massive asteroid that is hurtling through space could potentially be on a direct collision-course with Earth.

The date of possible impact is far in the future, but scientists say there is a 1 in 2,700 chance of the asteroid, named 101955 Bennu, hitting Earth between 2175 and 2196, according to CTV News.

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"It is what we call an Earth-crossing asteroid," said York University astrophysics and astronomy professor Paul Delaney. "Keeping an eye on all of these objects ... is a bit of a preoccupation for many, many astronomers." 

Delaney clarified that if Bennu were to collide with Earth, the asteroid, which is nearly 500 meters in diameter, would dramatically alter life on the planet.

"These are what we call extinction-level objects. If they were to come in contact with us, you’d have the same sort of scenario as the dinosaurs all over again."

Other astronomers agree with Delaney's assessment, saying the huge asteroid could cause "immense suffering and death," according to Fox News.

The rock was discovered in 1999 and is due to pass the Earth and the moon sometime around 2135.

Dante Lauretta, a NASA expert who was put in charge of a new mission to analyze the object, said: "That 2135 fly-by is going to tweak Bennu's orbit, potentially putting it on course for the Earth later that century."

It is not entirely clear what will happen, as even the potential fly-by remains over a century in the future.

"But gosh, there’s a lot of time between now and then and a lot of thing can change in the inner solar system," said Delaney.

Sources: CTV News, Fox News / Photo credit: Fox News