NASA has been concerned about a possible collision with this large asteroid since 2004.
The US space agency NASA estimates that asteroid 9942 Apophis will pass the earth at a distance of “only” 32,000 kilometers. The event will take place on Friday, April 13, 2029. The passage will be visible to the naked eye – without the need to resort to telescopes or binoculars.
The diameter of the asteroid is as much as 340 meters, and it could cause enormous damage if it collided with the earth.
This animated video for NASA shows the predicted orbit of the asteroid Apophis as it orbits Earth on April 13, 2029.
In the past, this asteroid was associated with tension and anxiety. NASA scientists were not entirely sure whether the collision of the Earth and the 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 potentially hit Earth.
Initially, NASA was not sure whether the asteroid could potentially collide with Earth in 2029. Then this probability was shifted to 2036, and now no later than 2068.
Now NASA can bring good news, at least for everyone who lives today.
“The possibility of a collision in 2068 is no longer achievable, and our calculations do not show a risk of a collision over the next 100 years,” said David Farnokia of NASA’s Center for Earth Object Research (CNEOS).
As the name implies, CNEOS observes objects in space that pass at a relatively close distance from Earth.
“When I started working with asteroids after training, Apophis was the best candidate among dangerous asteroids,” says Farnokia.
* Asteroids are small, solid and irregularly shaped celestial bodies made of iron and rocks that revolve around 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 near Neptune’s orbit, and beyond.
* 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 revolve around the Sun in the same direction as the planets. Asteroids that cross the 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 the Earth’s orbit. They pose a significant risk of collision for the Earth.
* In 2017, we first observed an asteroid that does not belong to the solar system, the so-called interstellar asteroid. The interstellar asteroid Oumuamua (1I / 2017) has an orbit that indicates that it is not gravitationally connected to the Sun and that it travels around the universe alone.
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Removed from risk list
It is believed that the collision of Earth and Apophis could cause an explosion equivalent to 508 megatons, which is 28,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II, according to Sky News.
– With the support of recent optical observations and subsequent radar observations, the uncertainty in the orbit of Apophis has fallen from hundreds of kilometers to several kilometers relative to its position in 2029. This much expanded knowledge of its position in 2029 gives a better understanding of its future movements, so now we can remove Apophis from this list of risks, says Farnokia.
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The list referenced by Farnocchia is the Impact Risk Table. This is NASA’s own survey of objects in space that have the potential risk of hitting Earth. At the time of writing, there are 21 items in this list.
After astronomers have calculated to eliminate the risk of objects colliding, the object is moved to the Deleted Objects list. Apophis was transferred to this list on Friday, March 26.
Some known asteroid hits
65 million years ago: An asteroid or comet with a diameter of about 10 km passed the crater Chixulub (Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico). Probably 75 percent of the species on Earth, including dinosaurs, are extinct.
50,000 years ago: An asteroid with a diameter of approx. 50 m crashed into 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-kilometer crater in Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the United States. The impact changed many river flows and led to changes in groundwater bodies.
251 million years ago: An asteroid or comet with a diameter of about 10 km made the crater Bedut off the northwest coast of Australia. Perhaps 90 percent of marine life is extinct and perhaps 80 percent of land life. Strong earthquakes are likely to have started and led to global climate change
110 years ago (June 30, 1908): Asteroids or comets with a diameter of about 60 m exploded approximately. 8 km above Tunguska in Siberia, and let the forest level over an area of 2000 km 2. The explosive effect is estimated to be equivalent to 10 megatons, ie like 500 bombs in Hiroshima.
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“Snow” the earth in 2029
According to NASA, Apophis will clear the earth with a clearance of 32,000 kilometers in just eight years. This may sound very distant, but the asteroid will be closer to Earth than many geosynchronous satellites – that is, satellites that move in synchronous orbit around the Earth with an orbital period of about one day.
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With the help of a powerful telescope and radar, NASA was able to generalize a relatively clear image of the asteroid when it was at a distance of 17 million kilometers from Earth – equivalent to 44 distances between the Earth and the Moon.
“If we had such powerful binoculars as this radar, we could sit in Los Angeles and read the menu at a restaurant in New York,” said NASA scientist Marina Brozovich.
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