Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Asteroid to hit Earth by 2036

Known as "99942 Apophis," the 900-foot-long asteroid has had the attention of scientists for some time. According to an article from, back in 2004, NASA scientists announced that Apophis could hit the planet in 2029. But, after further number crunching, that prediction was later retracted.

Per the article: "Sokolov went on to say the chance of a collision on Easter Sunday in 2036 was extremely slim, predicting that the asteroid would likely disintegrate into smaller parts and smaller collisions with Earth could occur in the following years."

Both Sokolov and our planetary scientists agree that on Friday, April 13 of 2029 the asteroid is predicted to brush by Earth at 18,000 miles altitude, below the height of Earth's geosynchronous satellites.

The asteroid hurtled back into the news when Russia recently predicted 99942 Apophis may hit Earth on April 13, 2036. NASA acknowledges that there is a chance this may happen, but it is far from likely. Donald Yeomans, who heads up NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office, estimates the odds at around 1 in 250,000. And, don't worry — NASA does have a backup plan. Should the need arise, the space agency will construct machinery to change the asteroid's orbit. 

source: yahoonews

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