Apophis: Asteroid Labeled "Potentially Hazardous" Flies by Earth This Wednesday

This space rock is 900 feet wide, might hit our planet in 2036

By on January 9th, 2013 08:49 GMT

Roughly three weeks after Toutatis caused quite a media stir by coming fairly close to Earth, another space rock is set to pass by our planet this Wednesday.

This asteroid is roughly 900 feet (about 274.5 meters) wide, and specialists explain that, all things considered, it will remain at a distance of approximately 9 million miles from Earth.

Given the fact that the asteroid's name, Apophis, was inspired by an Egyptian demon, it need not come as such a big surprise that several people are now worried about its approaching our planet.

Still, researchers wish to reassure people that, at least as far as the year 2013 is concerned, there will be no collision between Earth and Apophis.

On the downside, Daily Mail reports that there is a “tiny, but real” chance that this asteroid will hit us at some point in the future. More precisely, there are some who argue that Apophis might just smash into our planet as early as the year 2036.

Prior to its hitting or not hitting our planet in 2036, the asteroid is expected to once again pay us a visit.

Thus, researchers have calculated that, in the year 2029, it will pass by our planet at a distance of 30,000 kilometers, which means that it will be flying inside the orbit of communication satellites.

Should this happen, the force of the impact would be the equivalent of 500 megatons of TNT all blowing up at the same time.

Patrick Paolucci, currently employed as the president of Slooth (i.e. a web-based sky-watching service), made a case of how, “Alone among all these near-Earth asteroids that have passed our way in recent years, Apophis has generated the most concern worldwide because of its extremely close approach in 2029 and potential impact, albeit small, in 2036.”

This space rock was discovered by scientists back in 2004, and the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center sees it as a “potentially hazardous asteroid.”
This Wednesday, Apophis will pay Earth a visit
   This Wednesday, Apophis will pay Earth a visit
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