Key Facts

  • Categorized as a Apollo-class Asteroid
  • Comparable in size to the U.S. Capitol building (0.48 km diameter)
  • Will pass within 14,767,529 km of Earth in 2037
  • Classified as a Near Earth Asteroid (NEA)
  • Classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA)
  • See orbit simulation

Overview

Bennu is a very small asteroid whose orbit crosses the orbit of Earth. NASA JPL has classified Bennu as a "Potentially Hazardous Asteroid" due to its predicted close pass(es) with Earth.

Bennu orbits the sun every 437 days (1.20 years), coming as close as 0.90 AU and reaching as far as 1.36 AU from the sun. Bennu is about 0.5 kilometers in diameter, making it larger than 90% of asteroids but tiny compared to large asteroids, comparable in size to the U.S. Capitol building.

The rotation of Bennu has been observed. It completes a rotation on its axis every 4.30 hours.

Bennu's spectral type None (Tholen) / B (SMASSII) indicates that it is likely to contain hydrogen, nitrogen, ammonia, and iron.

Close Approaches

Bennu's orbit is 0.00 AU from Earth's orbit at its closest point. This means that its orbit is relatively close to Earth's orbit.

Bennu has 15 close approaches predicted in the coming decades:

Date Distance from Earth (km) Velocity (km/s)
Feb. 11, 2037 14,767,529 7.534
Feb. 9, 2043 14,455,370 4.301
Nov. 14, 2048 18,018,937 4.661
March 7, 2049 27,371,238 4.474
Sept. 30, 2054 5,879,120 5.092
Sept. 23, 2060 749,172 6.187
Feb. 15, 2068 10,542,792 5.745
Sept. 22, 2080 2,338,314 6.392
Oct. 2, 2087 8,113,335 4.789
Nov. 26, 2094 19,894,256 4.609
March 13, 2095 25,900,205 4.488
Feb. 17, 2102 11,952,372 4.847
Feb. 19, 2109 16,858,910 8.284
Sept. 14, 2128 20,109,153 9.571
Sept. 25, 2135 204,044 6.285

NASA Sentry has assessed impact risk for 157 very close approach scenarios. Here are the top scenarios ordered by probability of impact:

Date Probability of Impact (%) Impact Energy (Mt)
Sept. 24, 2182 0.03702 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2187 0.00709 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2192 0.00388 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2193 0.00161 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2187 0.00139 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2194 0.00120 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2193 0.00038 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2192 0.00032 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2197 0.00027 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2190 0.00025 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2184 0.00020 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2191 0.00016 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2197 0.00016 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2210 0.00014 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2210 0.00013 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2185 0.00011 1421.0
Sept. 26, 2203 0.00010 1423.0
Sept. 25, 2213 0.00008 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2187 0.00008 1423.0
Sept. 24, 2192 0.00008 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2179 0.00008 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2187 0.00007 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2189 0.00007 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2199 0.00006 1419.0
Sept. 24, 2181 0.00006 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2191 0.00006 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2195 0.00006 1423.0
Sept. 24, 2185 0.00005 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2196 0.00005 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2195 0.00005 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2193 0.00005 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2208 0.00005 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2195 0.00004 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2178 0.00004 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2198 0.00004 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2210 0.00003 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2204 0.00003 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2204 0.00003 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2198 0.00003 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2188 0.00003 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2187 0.00003 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2210 0.00003 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2201 0.00003 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2186 0.00003 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2185 0.00003 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2185 0.00003 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2189 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2184 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2190 0.00002 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2197 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2207 0.00002 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2190 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2203 0.00002 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2181 0.00002 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2203 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2209 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2190 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2193 0.00002 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2185 0.00002 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2191 0.00002 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2195 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2185 0.00002 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2210 0.00002 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2199 0.00002 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2206 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2202 0.00002 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2184 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2202 0.00002 1419.0
Sept. 25, 2202 0.00002 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2189 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2187 0.00002 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2191 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2190 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2190 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2190 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2189 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2189 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2189 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2188 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2188 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2187 0.00001 1423.0
Sept. 25, 2290 0.00001 1425.0
Sept. 24, 2187 0.00001 1423.0
Sept. 24, 2186 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2186 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2185 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2187 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2281 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2272 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2257 0.00001 1417.0
Sept. 24, 2254 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2231 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2231 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2231 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2228 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2228 0.00001 1419.0
Sept. 24, 2224 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2224 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2220 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2218 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2215 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2214 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2213 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2213 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2212 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2210 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2210 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2210 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2209 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2208 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2207 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2207 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2206 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2206 0.00001 1423.0
Sept. 25, 2205 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2205 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2205 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2204 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2204 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2203 0.00001 1423.0
Sept. 25, 2203 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2202 0.00001 1419.0
Sept. 25, 2202 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2201 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2201 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2201 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2201 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2201 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 25, 2200 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2200 0.00001 1423.0
Sept. 25, 2200 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 25, 2200 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2199 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2199 0.00001 1419.0
Sept. 24, 2198 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2198 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2197 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2197 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2197 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2196 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2196 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2196 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2196 0.00001 1419.0
Sept. 24, 2196 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2196 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2196 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2195 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2195 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2195 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2195 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2194 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 24, 2194 0.00001 1422.0
Sept. 24, 2193 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2193 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2193 0.00001 1420.0
Sept. 25, 2191 0.00001 1421.0
Sept. 24, 2191 0.00001 1420.0

Images and Observations

Bennu's orbit is determined by observations dating back to Sept. 11, 1999. It was last officially observed on Oct. 3, 2020. The IAU Minor Planet Center records 554 observations used to determine its orbit.

Scientists have been able to determine this object's shape:

View asteroid Bennu in 3D.

Accessibility and Exploration

Bennu can be reached with a journey of 362 days. This trajectory would require a delta-v of 6.995 km/s. To put this into perspective, the delta-v to launch a rocket to Low-Earth Orbit is 9.7 km/s. There are 47,757 potential trajectories and launch windows to this asteroid.

See more at the NHATS Mission Trajectories table for Bennu.

Similar Objects

These objects have orbits that share similar characteristics to the orbit of Bennu:

References

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Orbital Elements

  • Epoch: 2455562.5 JD
  • Semi-major axis: 1.126 AU
  • Eccentricity: 0.2037
  • Inclination: 6.03°
  • Longitude of Ascending Node: 2.06°
  • Argument of Periapsis: 66.22°
  • Mean Anomaly: 101.7°

Physical Characteristics

  • Diameter: 0.48200 km
  • Magnitude: 20.21
  • Albedo: 0.044
  • Spectral type (SMASS): B

Derived Characteristics

  • Orbit Period: 437 days (1.20 years)
  • Avg. Orbit Speed: 28.03 km/s
  • Aphelion Distance: 1.36 AU
  • Perihelion Distance: 0.90 AU
  • Rotation Period: 4.30 hours
  • Approx. Composition: hydrogen, nitrogen, ammonia, and iron.

Map Comparison

Click to load map

Orbit Simulation

Sky Map

The position of Bennu is indicated by a ◯ pink circle. Note that the object may not be in your current field of view. Use the controls below to adjust position, location, and time.

Size Rendering

The below comparison is an artistic rendering that uses available data on the diameter of Bennu to create an approximate landscape rendering with New York City in the background. This approximation is built for full-resolution desktop browsers. Shape, color, and texture of asteroid are imagined.