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Higher but still slim odds of asteroid Bennu slamming Earth

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km).Photo: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Scientists have fine-tuned the path of the asteroid Bennu and say the odds of it smacking into Earth are higher than previously thought but still quite low.

NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft is headed back to Earth after collecting samples from the large rubble pile of an asteroid.

While hanging out at Bennu, the spacecraft collected enough data to help scientists better predict the asteroid's orbital path for the next 200 years.

Their findings published Wednesday should also help in charting the course of other asteroids and give Earth a better fighting chance if and when another hazardous space rock heads our way.

Danielle Prieur is WMFE's education reporter.