Asteroid Bennu rotating faster over time, could help to know potential threats posed to earth

This artist's concept shows the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security - Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft contacting the asteroid Bennu with the Touch-And-Go Sample Arm Mechanism or TAGSAM. The mission aims to return a sample of Bennu's surface coating to Earth for study as well as return detailed information about the asteroid and it's trajectory. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

As per new research, asteroid Bennu is spinning faster over time. It stated that the rotation of this asteroid is speeding up by about one second per century. In other words, asteroid Bennu's rotation is slowing down by one second every 100 years.

Experts believe that this observation will help to know more about the evolution of asteroids and the potential threats these space bodies posing to earth.

The authors of the study, published in the Geophysical Research Letters, revealed that an increase in the rotation speed will not bring about sudden changes in just a century. However, when the asteroid spins faster and faster for millions of years, it could lose some of its pieces and sometimes, it may even blow apart.

"As it speeds up, things ought to change, and so we're going to be looking for those things and detecting this speed up gives us some clues as to the kinds of things we should be looking for. We should be looking for evidence that something was different in the fairly recent past and its conceivable things may be changing as we go," said Mike Nolan, a senior research scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona and the lead author of the study in a recent statement.

It was in late 2018 that the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft arrived at Bennu to study more about this asteroid. If everything goes well, the OSIRIS-REx mission will send samples from the asteroid back to the earth in 2023.

Bennu asteroid is now 110 million kilometres away from the earth and is moving through space at a speed of approximately 101,000 kilometres per hour. Some experts believe that asteroid Bennnu might hit the earth in 2135. As per experts, the chance of getting hit with Bennu asteroid is just 1 in 2700, but learning more about the trajectory of the space body is very much essential to save planet earth from a cataclysmic event.

In the meantime, NASA is apparently all set to launch their planetary defence weapon in a bid to deflect potentially dangerous asteroids from their trajectory. NASA believes that hitting the asteroid with this weapon will change its original collision course thus protecting the earth from a dreaded event.