Astronomers release update on chance “God of Chaos” asteroid will hit Earth

And it's good news.
  • Apophis is one of thousands of asteroids orbiting near Earth
  • According to astronomers, it will fly close to Earth twice in the next twenty years
  • They’ve also provided an update regarding a potential impact

Published on Mar 7, 2024 at 7:31PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Mar 8, 2024 at 8:03PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Adam Gray

There are millions of asteroids floating in space, and many of them are not too far from Earth.

And there’s one asteroid in particular that keeps astronomers and scientists awake at night, because it is the only one that potentially poses a real, imminent threat to our planet.

READ MORE: NASA finally opens up $1,000,000,000 asteroid

It is known as ‘99942 Apophis’, and it is a large asteroid with a diameter of 370 meters – or 1,200+ feet.

Even though it wouldn’t be an extinction level event – not the Dinosaur-killing kind to be brutally direct – it would still be potentially dangerous.

It could, in theory, create significant devastation around the impact point.

The asteroid first caused a few head scratches and a few sleepless nights in 2004, when astronomers calculated a 2.7 percent chance of it hitting Earth.

The danger has been monitored and reassessed several times since, and astronomers have concluded that things are a bit more rosy than that – but there are two dates to bear in mind.

First, it’ll come close to Earth – about 40,000 kilometers which is nothing in space – in 2029.

And then again in 2036.

As long as a natural collision between Apophis and another space object doesn’t change its orbit, it will not hit Earth.

“Given how closely Apophis will pass Earth, there is a possible risk that a deflection from its current trajectory may move it closer to impacting us,” Waterloo University student and co-author of the study Benjamin Hyatt wrote in a statement.

“Hypothetically, another asteroid colliding with Apophis could cause such a deflection, motivating us to study this scenario, however unlikely it may be.”

In order to further study and calculate Apophis’ trajectory, Hyatt and lead author Professor Paul Wiegert from Western University investigated the trajectory of 1.3 million known asteroids in the Solar System.

They’ve concluded that, for now, there is zero chance of any of those asteroids hitting Earth in the foreseeable future.

“We calculated the paths of all known asteroids using a detailed computer simulation of our Solar System and the possibility of such an unlikely event was evaluated,” said Wiegert.

“Fortunately, no such collisions are anticipated.”

Asteroids orbiting near Earth are constantly monitored by NASA and other space agencies.

Not long ago, one of them (pictured above) flew so close to Earth that NASA actually managed to take pictures of it.

Some of the images used for this article were generated using AI.

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