back to article Good news: There's a slightly increased chance of asteroid Bennu hitting Earth. Bad news: It's still really slight

Bennu, already considered the second most dangerous asteroid in the Solar System, has a slightly increased chance of hitting Earth in the coming centuries, NASA said this week. There is, according to the latest calculations, a 1-in-2,700 chance (0.037 per cent) that the half-kilometre-wide space rock will collide with Earth on …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure by then it will not be a problem even if it was going to impact Earth, we would have killed off everything on the planet by then anyway.

    1. Rich 2 Silver badge

      Yep

      I’m guessing about 150 years or so before then

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    Lucky it's not 1,000,000:1

    Nine times out of ten it would hit the Earth!

    1. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: Lucky it's not 1,000,000:1

      As the late, great, PTerry would have said: Oook!

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Lucky it's not 1,000,000:1

      Considering people hope to win the lottery (at 1:60 million or thereabouts) this is not such a small chance...

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Lucky it's not 1,000,000:1

        Considering people hope to win the lottery (at 1:60 million or thereabouts) this is not such a small chance...

        "People" do win lotteries almost every week though. If there were as many Earths as there were lottery players then the asteroid would hit.

        1. richardcox13

          Re: Lucky it's not 1,000,000:1

          You like in the in The Long Earth series?

          1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: Lucky it's not 1,000,000:1

            If a meteor strike prevents me from having to read the full series I'll be grateful. I gave up before finishing book 1. On the basis I generally find Stephen Baxter hard going I wonder who contributed what percentage of the writing.

  3. cookieMonster
    Joke

    TAG did not alter Bennu’s likelihood of impacting Earth

    Of course they’d say that. They would hardly say “Opps, our bad”

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: TAG did not alter Bennu’s likelihood of impacting Earth

      And after visiting Bennu there has been an increased interest in manned spaceflight, setting up a new Moon base and visiting Mars.

      I wonder why?

  4. six_tymes

    2182? I'm sure pelosi and biden will still be politicians then.

    1. EarthDog

      I doubt it. But WiIlly Nelson is certain to be there.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        We must take steps to protect Keith Richards

        1. FozzyBear

          No need. The combination and quantity of drugs he has taken has made him immortal

          1. staringatclouds

            Keith & Lemmy's livers are immortal the rest of them not so much

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "2182? I'm sure pelosi and biden will still be politicians then."

      ...and Mitch McConnell. I'm pretty sure he was around to watch the launch of Noahs Ark, and will be around at the heat death of the universe.

  5. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    doh!

    "1 in 2,700 and falling ..." noted Trillian. Zaphod didn't see the big rock hurtling towards him as his view had unexpectedly turned a delightful shade of dark indigo.

    By the way, the "weight of three grapes" is not exactly helpful, it's not even derived from an El Reg approved unit*.

    Is it the weight of three grapes on the surface of the asteroid or the weight of three grapes at sea level on the Earth? And are they the little squitty grapes at the bottom of the tray in Morrisons or big fresh ones from Waitrose? And does it include any diamegnetic repulsion (yes, you can repel grapes with a magnet, look up the grape dumbell experiment, works with lots of other 'non magnetic' things too at least to the size of oranges ... apart from the ones that confuse the issue by being paramagnetic ... :-) )? So many questions ...

    *Surely the gravitational force experienced by one Bulgarian Fun Bag when the encapsulant is standing on the tarmac at Schipol Airport would be the El Reg unit of force?

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

      Re: doh!

      I'm off to buy some grapes!*

      https://decodedscience.org/motivate-repulsive-grapes-with-neodymium-magnets/

      (Where is 'slack jawed in amazement' icon when you need it?)

      *Well, I'm off to get my lunch actually, but I am definitely trying this, so going to get some grapes too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: doh!

        Interesting read, even though there were no pictures.

        My best "slack jawed" moment was on TV - how to extract DNA using household ingredients.

        Washing up liquid, salt and methylated spirits IIRC

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: doh!

          >My best "slack jawed" moment was on TV - how to extract DNA using household ingredients.

          Red wine, soft music and lingerie also work...

        2. DJO Silver badge

          Re: doh!

          Fun DNA experiment:

          Extract all the nuclear DNA (ignore the mitochondrial stuff) from somebody (someone you don't like, there's zero survivability) then unravel it and stretch it all out and lay it end to end and then measure it.

          You'll need a very long tape measure: it's about 13AU per adult person.

          1. DJO Silver badge

            Re: doh!

            Hm, went back and checked my maths. 13.37 AU is the length of the DNA in 1 trillion cells.

            The number of cells in the human body is contentious with figures ranging from 20 trillion to over 100 trillion so pick your favourite number (of cells in trillions) and multiply that by 13.37.

            The number closest to a consensus is 37 trillion which works out to 495 AU of DNA, for comparison Voyager 1 is ~142 AU away.

      2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: doh!

        Youtube video of diamagnetism exhibited in grapes:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-FNdO4tb-M

        I'd show you my video of my doing the experiment, but this is better as he has a stronger magnet. Plus I've eaten the grapes, yum.

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: doh!

      Are they African grapes or European grapes?

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: doh!

        Laden or unladen?

      2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: doh!

        If they've got those odds wrong/they are shorter, then it'll be sour grapes

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    “We’ve never modeled an asteroid’s trajectory to this precision before”

    I'm not entirely sure that that is actually reassuring . . .

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: “We’ve never modeled an asteroid’s trajectory to this precision before”

      Not only because "precision" is not the same as "accuracy".

      When I last attended an archery shoot, I was pretty precise. I could hit pretty much the same spot on the target over and over. It wasn't anywhere near where I was aiming though.

  7. adam 40 Silver badge

    Klingons (or TAGnuts)

    I am wondering whose three grapes they weighed, to get the standard mass?

    Perhaps they could fire it off into a black hole? (A starfish-shaped one that is....)

  8. R Soul

    Big deal

    There's nothing to worry about. Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck wil sort out this pesky asteroid. I saw a documentary about how they did it last time.

  9. Diogenes8080

    Thar's gold in them thar astyroids

    Half a kilometre of ice and pumice is hardly Earth-shattering (though still capable of wrecking a small nation).

    https://impact.ese.ic.ac.uk/ImpactEarth/cgi-bin/crater.cgi, I went with 535m diameter, 1190 density and typical cometary velocity and theta.

    By 2182 we may be looking at ways to hard-land it in an unpopulated area. Fresh water! Reverse global warming!

    Now if NASA or any other agency really wants to push the CPU boat out, how about calculating the "billiards" scenario whereby one of these near-misses slingshots around either the Earth or the Moon?

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: Thar's gold in them thar astyroids

      Great website, but I'm not sure my feeling of "oh, that's not so bad" is entirely warranted. 500km away and impact only as loud as heavy traffic? 70 microns layer of ejecta on everything? Pish, I can take that - I used to spend my friday nights at Turnmills nightclub. Bring it on!

    2. Pseudononymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: Thar's gold in them thar astyroids

      I can't think why NASA bothered to get a sample of Bennu.

      They should have gone somewhere else, because they can collect all the samples they want from Bennu just using a shovel on 25 September 2182.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Thar's gold in them thar astyroids

        >By 2182 we may be looking at ways to hard-land it in an unpopulated area.

        By 2182 that might be easier than we thought

  10. DJV Silver badge

    Right...

    ...I'm off to buy a harder hat...

  11. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

    Just hope the media don't get hold of this story otherwise we'll all be exhorted to start building deep shelters and stocking them up. 150 years is about the right timescale for a major panic (anyone for the IPCC report?)

  12. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
    Trollface

    Optional sensible title here

    I'm not paranoid but I've penciled it in on my calendar.

    I think it's a couple of days before the wife's birthday so I won't forget.

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