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Giant Asteroid Heading Earth's Way With Possible Impact in the Future

Jun 28, 2017 09:02 AM EDT
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Apophis will be passing by Earth on April 13, 2029 at just 18,000 miles away.
(Photo : NASA/JPL-Caltec via Getty Images)

When the end of the world comes, do you think it's going to be because of an asteroid? The famous near-Earth asteroid Apophis will be missing the planet by a hair on 2029, but a future collision is possible, according to a report from Astro Watch.

Apophis will be passing by Earth on April 13, 2029 at just 18,000 miles away, a report from Express revealed. It sounds quite far, but this is incredibly close in this scale. After all, the moon is only 238,900 miles away. An impact from this asteroid would be extremely devastating, leaving a crater more than a mile wide and 518 meters deep.

However, there's no need to worry about Apophis just yet.

 "We can rule out a collision at the next closest approach with the Earth, but then the orbit will change in a way that is not fully predictable just now, so we cannot predict the behavior on a longer timescale," Alberto Cellino of the Observatory of Turin in Italy explained.

There are no near-Earth objects (NEO) on a collision course with the planet, but their orbits can be chaotic and turn out to be dangerous in the future. Random space objects can also end up as potential hazards.

"Because of imperfectly known orbits, there are some that have a low probability of impact in the distant future, but at present none of the known asteroids has a probability of impact that exceeds the random chance of an undiscovered asteroid of the same size hitting the Earth sometime between now and the possible impact date of the imperfectly known object," former Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Alan Harris said.

He added, "Apophis has a Palermo Scale rating of about minus three, so while we cannot rule out an impact in the future, it is about 1,000 times less likely than a random impact in the same interval of time."

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