Good news from NASA: Earth is safe from the dangerous asteroid 99942 Apophis for the next 100 years. So if you put this on your apocalyptic bingo card, you need to print new ones.
New data confirms that the Earth is safe from #asteroid Apophis for the next 100+ years. Apophis has previously been identified as one of the most dangerous asteroids, but new radar observations have eliminated that. Just another day for @NASA #PlanetaryDefense! https://t.co/RMhuLQyHrZ pic.twitter.com/Q5A0RAfFUY
– NASA Asteroid Guard (@AsteroidWatch) March 26, 2021
Apophis was first discovered in 2004, after which NASA says it was added to the list of the most dangerous asteroids that could affect Earth.
A potential blow from the 1,100-foot asteroid could kill 10 million people, researchers said in an early forecast.
Astronauts initially expected Apophis to get a little too close to comfort in 2029. Then in 2036. Both of those forecasts were rejected, but the latest forecast for 2068 was still though. the risk of small impact. That is no longer true.
“The impact of 2068 is no longer in the position of potential, and our calculations show no risk of impact for at least the next 100 years,” said Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies.
The latest predictions are due to new radar observations that occurred when Apophis came closer this month. While here it was “closer” still a safe distance 10.6 million miles away from Earth.
Astronomers also used the radar observations to examine the orbit of the asteroid in more detail around the sun.
“We were able to get very detailed information about its speed to an accuracy of about 150 meters,” said scientist Marina Brozovic from NASA’s Jet Dedication Laboratory in Southern California.
Brozovic directed the radar operations that controlled gin potential impact risk in 2068. Scientists hope to use the data collected this time to find out more about the shape of the asteroid, as well as its spinning rate and axis on which he spins.
Although the threat for victory in 2029 was long removed, Apophis will reach within 20,000 miles of the Earth’s surface that year on April 13th. Observers in the Eastern hemisphere will have the opportunity to see without binoculars, and astronomers will have the opportunity to learn more about the asteroid, without worrying that it remains a threat to the planet.
“When I started working with asteroids after college, Apophis was the poster child for dangerous asteroids,” Farnocchia said. “We are very pleased to see him removed from the risk list, and we look forward to the science we could discover during his close approach in 2029.”