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Recent Bennu Press Stories Need Correction

Several news stories circulating over the past week reporting on the possibility of asteroid Bennu impacting the Earth need some correction. These stories name 2135 as the year when asteroid Bennu has a small chance of impacting the Earth, but that is incorrect. In fact, as shown by our Sentry impact monitoring system analysis for Bennu (reported by CNEOS and a paper published in Icarus in 2014), the earliest possible year in which the asteroid could hit our planet is 2175, and the chance of the impact happening in that year is 1 in 24,000. The stories state the odds of Bennu hitting our planet as "about 1 in 2,700" and imply this is the impact probability for a single year. But, in fact, those odds are the cumulative probability of impact over all years between 2175 and 2199.

CNEOS maintains a public database of impact risks posed by all known Near-Earth Objects, as well as an on-line table of NEO Earth close approach information.

Media Contact

DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA