Asteroids crashing into Earth and wiping out the human race is a major concern for researchers at NASA, and one such asteroid is going to come close to the Earth in the year 2029. The distance would be as close as of an orbiting spacecraft.
The asteroid is named ‘99942 Apophis’, Apophis referring to Egyptian ‘God of Chaos’. It is 1,110 feet in width and will fly past Earth at a distance of 19,000 miles.
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The event will take place on April 13, 2029, but scientists at Planetary Defense Conference are already preparing for the encounter. This asteroid poses a significant situation for research as most asteroids that fly past Earth are no wider than 30 feet, and as this being a massive asteroid would enable scientists to study its effect on Earth’s gravity, potential research opportunities and even how to deflect an incoming asteroid.
Marina Brozovic, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said in the conference:
The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science. We’ll observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we might be able to see surface details that are only a few meters in size.
The asteroid will be visible to the naked eye and will look like a moving star. It was discovered in 2004 and has been tracked for 15 years. Its chances of striking with Earth after 2060 are 1 in 1,000.