The Apophis asteroid probably won’t hit the Earth after all, according to Nasa.
It had been feared that the 300 meter long asteroid could strike the Earth in 2036, with the impact likely to cause a 500 megaton explosion.
According to initial calculations, there was a one in 200,000 probability that the Apophis asteroid – so named after the Egyptian god of destruction – would collide with our planet. Fortunately, after fresh inspection, the odds have recently been revised to virtually zero.
“The impact odds as they stand now are less than one in a million, which makes us comfortable saying we can effectively rule out an Earth impact in 2036,” said Nasa’s Don Yeoman in a statement.
It’s not the first time scientists have been made to sweat over the course of the Apophis asteroid. Back in 2004, when it was discovered (see picture), it was thought that there was a one in 45 chance that the asteroid would hit the Earth in the year 2029.
As it turns out, Apophis will instead pass within 32,000 km miles of Earth in that year. That might sound like quite a distance, but it is in fact closer than the orbit of many satellites.
Whilst Nasa’s Near Earth Objects program claims to be tracking some 9,000 objects in space, it admits that there are many thousands that remain unknown. As such, the chances are we’d be unaware of an impending apocalyptic meteor strike until it had hit the Earth.
Just a cheery thought to leave you all with ahead of the weekend.
Via: Huffington Post