Were safe! ‘Potentially dangerous’ asteroid Apophis will NOT collide with Earth in 2068, says NASA

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The near-terrestrial object that was thought to collide with our planet in 2068 is no longer considered a threat for at least the next 100 years.

NASA made the announcement after asteroid Apophis passed Earth earlier this month, allowing the US space agency to estimate the space rock’s orbit around the sun.

Scientists used a 70-meter radio antenna to track Apophis’ movement and revealed that “an impact is no longer possible in 2068.”

However, the asteroid will return in 2029, but the new data predicts it will pass about 32,000 miles from Earth – which is still a safe distance.

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NASA made the announcement after asteroid Apophis passed Earth earlier this month, allowing the US space agency to estimate the space rock's orbit around the sun.

NASA made the announcement after asteroid Apophis passed Earth earlier this month, allowing the US space agency to estimate the space rock’s orbit around the sun.

Named for the ancient Egyptian god of chaos, Apophis is over 300 meters wide and an impact would be equivalent to 880 million tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT) exploding all at once.

The asteroid was first discovered on June 19, 2004 by astronomers at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

Since then, scientists have tracked every movement as it orbits the sun – completing it for less than an Earth year.

When Apophis passed Earth around March 5, scientists set to work collecting data to learn more about its path.

However, the asteroid will return in 2029, but the new data predicts it will pass some 32,000 miles from Earth - which is still a safe distance.

However, the asteroid will return in 2029, but the new data predicts it will pass some 32,000 miles from Earth - which is still a safe distance.

However, the asteroid will return in 2029, but the new data predicts it will pass some 32,000 miles from Earth – which is still a safe distance.

Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), which is operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said impact risk for at least the next 100 years. ‘

APOPHIS: THE EGYPTIAN GOD OF CHAOS

In Egyptian mythology, Apophis, also known as Apep, was the spirit of evil, darkness, and destruction.

Apophis is depicted as a snake

Apophis is depicted as a snake

Apophis is depicted as a snake

He was an enemy of the sun god Ra and a force that was never to be overcome.

Apophis was not mentioned by name until the rise of the Middle Kingdom, but it was said to have existed since prehistoric times by Egyptian scholars.

Hated and feared by Egyptians, he was said to lead an army of demons that hunted the living and the dead.

Apep fought with Ra and regularly appeared in writings as a snake, although other texts describe him as a crocodile.

‘An impact in 2068 is no longer possible, and our calculations show no impact risk for at least the next 100 years.’

The NASA team used the powerful radio antenna at the Deep Space Network Deep Space Network’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex near Barstow, California, to accurately track Apophis’ movement.

JPL scientist Marina Brozović, who led the radar campaign, said, “Although Apophis recently approached Earth, it was still nearly 10.6 million miles. [17 million kilometers] away. Still, we were able to get incredibly accurate distance information to an accuracy of about 150 meters [490 feet]

‘This campaign has not only helped us eliminate any impact risk, it has also provided us with a great scientific opportunity.’

The radio antenna captured radar images of Apophis as it skimmed past Earth this month.

While the images are pixelated, the resolution is 127 feet per pixel, which NASA considers “remarkable resolution.”

The asteroid was recorded 44 times the Earth-Moon distance, which Brozović said if “we had binoculars as powerful as this radar, we could sit in Los Angeles and read a dinner menu at a restaurant in New York.”

As the radar team continues to analyze their data, they also hope to learn more about the asteroid’s shape. Previous radar observations have suggested that Apophis has a ‘bilobed’ or peanut-like appearance.

This is a relatively common form among near-terrestrial asteroids with a diameter of more than 200 meters; at least one in six has two lobes.

The close approach of Apophis in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science, ”said Brozović.

‘We will observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we may be able to see surface details as small as a few meters. ‘

The asteroid was first discovered on June 19, 2004 (photo) by astronomers at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.  Since then, scientists have tracked every movement as it orbits the sun - completing it for less than an Earth year

The asteroid was first discovered on June 19, 2004 (photo) by astronomers at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.  Since then, scientists have tracked every movement as it orbits the sun - completing it for less than an Earth year

The asteroid was first discovered on June 19, 2004 (photo) by astronomers at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. Since then, scientists have tracked every movement as it orbits the sun – completing it for less than an Earth year

The Virtual Telescope project will live stream its observations of Apophis from midnight tonight, so anyone without a telescope can see the flyby. The little red dot is Apophis – its orbit intersects Earth’s, allowing for future collision

The asteroid is an ‘S-type’ or stony space rock, meaning it’s made of silicate materials, including a mix of nickel and iron, according to NASA.

“Like all asteroids, Apophis is a relic of the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago,” NASA said.

It originated in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. For millions of years, its orbit has mainly been changed by the gravity of major planets such as Jupiter, so that it now revolves around the sun closer to Earth. ‘

There are no images of the surface, but NASA predicts it will be similar to the surface of other stony asteroids such as Itokawa – this was the first asteroid where samples were taken and returned to Earth for analysis.

EARTH HAD FIVE BIG EXTINCTION EVENTS WITH FAMOUS A DINOSAUR KILLING ASTEROID

Five times, the vast majority of life on Earth has been extinguished in so-called mass extinctions.

Mass extinction of the end of the Ordovician
The first of the traditional big five extinction events, about 540 million years ago, was probably the second most serious. Nearly all life was in the sea at the time and about 85% of these species disappeared.

Late Devonian mass extinction

About 375-359 million years ago, major environmental changes triggered a long-lasting extinction that wiped out large fish groups and halted the formation of new coral reefs for 100 million years.

Five times, the vast majority of life on Earth has been extinguished in so-called mass extinctions.  Perhaps the best known is the Late Cretaceous, which wiped out the dinosaurs.  Artist's impression

Five times, the vast majority of life on Earth has been extinguished in so-called mass extinctions.  Perhaps the best known is the Late Cretaceous, which wiped out the dinosaurs.  Artist's impression

Five times, the vast majority of life on Earth has been extinguished in so-called mass extinctions. Perhaps the best known is the Late Cretaceous, which wiped out the dinosaurs. Artist’s impression

End Permian mass extinction (The Great Dying)
The largest extinction event and the one that most profoundly affected Earth’s ecology occurred 252 million years ago. As many as 97% of the species that leave a fossil record have disappeared forever.

End Triassic mass extinction
Dinosaurs first appeared in the early Triassic, but large amphibians and mammal-like reptiles were the dominant land animals. The rapid mass extinction that happened 201 million years ago changed that.

Mass extinction in the end of the Cretaceous

An asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago and is often accused of ending the dinosaurs’ reign.