NASA has been concerned about a possible collision with this large asteroid since 2004.
The US space agency NASA has calculated that the asteroid 9942 Apophis will pass the earth past “only” 32,000 kilometers. The event will take place on Friday, April 13, 2029. The passage will be visible to the naked eye – without having to resort to telescopes or binoculars.
The diameter of the asteroid is a full 340 meters and could cause enormous damage in a collision with the Earth.
This animated video for NASO shows the presumed orbit of the asteroid Apophis when it crosses Earth on April 13, 2029.
In the past, tension and anxiety have been associated with this asteroid. NASA scientists were not entirely sure whether a collision between Earth and an asteroid could be completely ruled out in the relatively near future.
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A potentially dangerous asteroid
Since 2004, Apophis has been considered the most dangerous asteroid that could hit Earth.
Initially, NASA wasn’t sure if the asteroid could potentially collide with Earth as early as 2029. Then that probability was moved to 2036 and now to 2068 at the latest.
Now NASA can bring good news, at least for everyone living today.
– The possibility of a collision in 2068 is no longer achievable and our calculations do not show the risk of a collision in the next 100 years, says Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Center for Near World Research (CNEOS).
As the name suggests, CNEOS controls objects in space that pass at a relatively short distance from Earth.
– When I started working with asteroids after my studies, Apophis was the best candidate among dangerous asteroids, says Farnocchia.
* Asteroids are small, solid, and irregular celestial bodies made of iron and rocks orbiting the Sun. Most asteroids in the solar system are located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Since 1993, many hundreds of asteroids have been discovered in the Kuiper Belt before and beyond Neptune’s orbit.
* It is estimated that there are about 100,000 asteroids with a diameter of more than one kilometer. The total mass of all asteroids in the solar system is less than the mass of the Moon.
* Asteroids orbit the Sun in the same direction as the planets. Asteroids that cross Earth’s orbit are called Apollo asteroids. It is estimated that there are about 1,200 asteroids with a diameter of more than one kilometer near Earth’s orbit. These pose an insignificant collision risk to Earth.
* In 2017, a non-solar asteroid, the so-called interstellar asteroid, was first observed. The interstellar asteroid ‘Oumuamua’ (1I / 2017) has an orbit that indicates that it is not gravitationally bound to the Sun and that it travels through space alone.
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Removed from the list of risks
It is believed that a collision between Earth and Apophis would cause an explosion corresponding to 508 megatons, which is 28,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that fell on Hiroshima during World War II, Sky News reports.
– With the support of recent optical observations and further radar observations, uncertainty in Apophis’ orbit has been reduced from hundreds of kilometers to just a few kilometers relative to its position in 2029. This widely expanded knowledge of the 2029 position provides more understanding of its future movements removed from that list of risks, Farnocchia says.
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The list to which Farnocchia refers is a table of risks to guard influence. This is NASA’s own survey of objects in space that are in danger of hitting Earth. At the time of writing, there are 21 items on this list.
When astronomers calculate that they exclude the risk of objects colliding, the object moves to a list of removed objects. Apophis was not transferred to this list until Friday, March 26th.
Some famous asteroid hits
65 million years ago: An asteroid or comet with a diameter of about 10 km was created by the Chicxulub crater (Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico). Probably 75 percent of the species on Earth, including dinosaurs, became extinct.
50,000 years ago: An asteroid about 50 m in diameter collided with Barringer Crater in Arizona, USA with a diameter of 1.2 km and a depth of 175 m.
35 million years ago: An asteroid or comet about 5 km in diameter created an 80 km crater in Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the United States. The impact changed many river flows and caused changes in groundwater bodies.
251 million years ago: An asteroid or comet about 10 km in diameter was created by Bedout Crater off the northwest coast of Australia. Probably 90 percent of marine and perhaps 80 percent of terrestrial life became extinct. A powerful earthquake probably started and created global climate change
110 years ago (June 30, 1908): Asteroids or comets about 60 m in diameter exploded. 8 km above Tunguska in Siberia and let the forest settle in an area of 2000 km 2. It is estimated that the explosive effect was equal to 10 megatons, ie. 500 bombs from Hiroshima.
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In 2029, it “snows” the earth
According to NASA, Apophis will clear the earth at a distance of 32,000 kilometers in just over eight years. It may sound very distant, but the asteroid will be closer to Earth than many geosynchronous satellites – that is, satellites that go in synchronous orbit around the Earth with an orbital period of about a day.
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NASA was able to capture a relatively clear image of the asteroid with a powerful telescope and radar, while it was 17 million kilometers away from Earth – which corresponds to 44 times the distance between Earth and the Moon.
“If we had binoculars as powerful as this radar, we could sit in Los Angeles and read the menu at a restaurant in New York,” NASA scientist Marina Brozovic said in a statement.
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