Why is NASA chasing this asteroid?

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NASA's hunting down an asteroid. Why you ask? Well the simple answer is that the asteroid which was discovered in 1999 and is called 101955 Bennu could maybe actually strike earth.

It's a part of a collection of asteroids called the apollo group and is bigger than 1,600 feet.

What makes Bennu so interesting is that there are several occasions in which scientists think it could hit. But that's many moons down the line. Nasa is more interested in getting a sample of the asteroid and bringing it back to Earth.

So NASA is sending its craft which is called OSIRIS-REx space probe to check on Bennu.

It's going to take two years to catch up with the asteroid but then the space probe is going to make contact with it -- not technically landing on it where the main part of the mission is then to get that sample of the dark and potentially dangerous asteroid.

The spacecraft heads home in 2021 not arriving back to earth before 2023.

And the spacecraft won't land, but will fly over Utah and drop off the capsule holding the asteroid sample.

See more space asteroids:

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IN SPACE - JULY 10: This handout image provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows the asteroid Lutetia at closest approach July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. Lutetia, about which little is known although it was discovered in 1852, is believed to be 83.3 miles (134 kilometers) in diameter. The Rosetta, which was launched in 2004, flew by Lutetia tonight at a distance of 1,900 miles (3,200 kilometers). (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)
This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Asteroid Vesta shows Licinia crater, which is the large crater in the center of the image. Licinia has a fresh, sharp rim that is scalloped in shape. Around the side of Licinia crater there are many streaks of dark and bright material cascading towards the crater's center. This image is located in Vesta's Floronia quadrangle, in Vesta's northern hemisphere. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on Oct. 11, 2011. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
The large asteroid Vesta is shown in this image taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. Astronauts and scientists are training in waters off Key Largo, Florida as part of NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) which is meant to test equipment and man's reactions for a human rendezvous with an asteroid. (Miami Herald/MCT via Getty Images)
IN SPACE - JULY 10: This handout photo illustration provided by the European Space Agency, transmitted by the space craft Rosetta, shows the final sequence of images before the closest approach of the asteroid Lutetia July 10, 2010 between Mars and Jupiter in outer space. Lutetia, about which little is known although it was discovered in 1852, is believed to be 83.3 miles (134 kilometers) in diameter. The Rosetta, which was launched in 2004, flew by Lutetia tonight at a distance of 1,900 miles (3,200 kilometers). (Photo by ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team via Getty Images)
NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image with its framing camera on July 17, 2011. It was taken from a distance of about 9,500 miles (15,000 kilometers) away from the protoplanet Vesta. Each pixel in the image corresponds to roughly 0.88 miles (1.4 kilometers). (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Image of the Vesta Ateroid. This Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta shows linear grooves and ridges in Vesta's regolith. These linear features generally run diagonally across the image from the top left to the bottom right. They are less than 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) in width and some have lengths that extend across the entire image. This image is located in Vesta's Tuccia quadrangle, in Vesta's southern hemisphere. NASA's Dawn spacecraft obtained this image on April 8, 2012. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
As NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes off for its next destination, this mosaic synthesizes some of the best views the spacecraft had of the giant asteroid Vesta. Dawn studied Vesta from July 2011 to September 2012. The towering mountain at the south pole -- more than twice the height of Mount Everest -- is visible at the bottom of the image. The set of three craters known as the 'snowman' can be seen at the top left. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
Asteroid 2015 TB145 is depicted in eight individual radar images collected on Oct. 31, 2015 between 5:55 a.m. PDT (8:55 a.m. EDT) and 6:08 a.m. PDT (9:08 a.m. EDT). (Photo via NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NRAO/AUI/NSF)
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