Astronomers take one last close look at 1999 RQ36 before sending mission there


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Astronomers plan one last close look at 1,900-foot-wide asteroid before sending a space probe there to collect samples.

Discovered in 1999, the OSIRIS-REx target asteroid, designated 1999 RQ36, nears Earth once every six years. During the 2011 closest approach in early September, it will be 10.9 million miles (17.5 million kilometers) away. In 1999, closest approach was 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers).

Strangely, the article above never mentions the fact that 1999 RQ36 has 1 in a 1000 chance of hitting the Earth in 2182, which to my mind is the primary reason for studying it.

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