For all the apocalypse talk that gets tossed around by psuedo-scientists and religious blowhards, rarely do we hear mention of Apophis, the 50 million-ton asteroid that actually might come close enough to Earth to warrant an end-of-the-world scare sometime in 2029. In that year it will pass so close to us that we'll be able figure the trajectory for its return trip in 2036. If it passes through an area of space near our home planet known as the "keyhole," it spells doom--on its return pass in 2036 it likely would strike us.
By Melissa CalderonePosted 12.20.2005 at 2:00 am 1 Comment
If the asteroid Apophis were to collide with Earth 30 years from now, it would strike with the force of 57,000 Hiroshima bombs. The aircraft-carrier-size rock could wipe out a city the size of Los Angeles and cause a 30-foot tsunami to smack into southern California. There's only a 1 in 5,500 chance of impact, but it's a chance that NASA is not willing to take.
So in late October, the space agency outlined a three-phase plan to observe, track, and deflect the rogue rock over the next two decades.