WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- NASA confirmed on Thursday that the planet will be safe from Armageddon for the next 100 years.
- The agency confirmed that an asteroid named Apophis will not hit the Earth in 2068.
- According to NPR, a potential Apophis hit could wipe away over 10 million people.
NASA announced on Thursday that the earth will not suffer potential extinction from the Apophis asteroid at least in the next 100 years.
Asteroid 99942 Apophis, as identified by the agency in 2004, would not potentially hit the world in the next century. According to space experts, Apophis could become one of the most dangerous asteroids that could hit the planet in the coming future. The term Apophis came from the name of the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction.
Initially, astronomers forecasted that Apophis would closely reach the Earth in 2029. It was also predicted that the same asteroid would come in 2036. This month, experts also ruled out the possibility that Apophis would hit the Earth in 2068, hence, it was inferred that the world may be safe at least in the next 100 years.
“A 2068 impact is not in the realm of possibility anymore, and our calculations don’t show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years,” said Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.
“With the support of recent optical observations and additional radar observations, the uncertainty in Apophis’ orbit has collapsed from hundreds of kilometers to just a handful of kilometers when projected to 2029,” Farnocchia continued. “This greatly improved knowledge of its position in 2029 provides more certainty of its future motion, so we can now remove Apophis from the risk list.”
Apophis was an artifact of the solar system’s early formation that commenced over four billion years ago. According to NASA, it developed from the main asteroid belt between planet Mars and Jupiter. The size of Apophis is approximately 1,120 feet in length, the size of three-and-a-half football fields.
An NPR report stated that an estimated impact from Apophis hit could wipe out at least 10 million people.
Farnocchia expressed his excitement to continue studying the asteroid with the expectation that it would not pose any danger to mankind at least for now.
“When I started working with asteroids after college, Apophis was the poster child for hazardous asteroids,” he said. “There’s a certain sense of satisfaction to see it removed from the risk list… and we’re looking forward to the science we might uncover during its close approach in 2029.”
NASA said that Apophis will approach near the planet on April 13, 2029, and it would be visible to people living in the Eastern Hemisphere without using any binoculars or telescope. During the given period, the massive rock will be around 20,000 miles from Earth. For reference, the distance between Moon and Earth is 238,900 miles.