When Will an Asteroid Finally Strike Earth?
Apophis was an ancient Egyptian spirit – an evil entity that threatened the sun god Ra during Ra’s travels through the underworld.
Such an entity of death seems to be the perfect name for the asteroid that poses the most serious threat to the earth. This massive asteroid – the 99942 Apophis – measures an astonishing 1,066 feet (325 meters) wide, according to estimates of European Space Agency astronomers in January of 2013.
In fact, it was on January 9th of 2013 that the asteroid – once labeled as the asteroid most likely to strike Earth – made a very close shave. It came within 9 million miles of Earth.
However, subsequent passes in 2029 and 2036 bring the monster asteroid far closer to earth – a surprisingly close 20,000 miles.
Only a month later in February, the Asteroid 2012 DA14 missed earth by only 17,100 miles above the planet.
It was the closest pass of any known asteroid since astronomers started surveying the objects in the 1990s. These near misses have many people wondering not if one of these massive rocks will ever collide with earth, but when.
How Long Are We Safe?
Scientists have downgraded the likelihood of 99942 Apophis striking earth. NASA experts reported humans can “effectively rule out an Earth impact in 2036.” (2)
This is great news to anyone that may be fearful of a disastrous asteroid impact within the next couple of decades, but anyone alive today who’s under 40 years of age will live to see whatever happens well through 2060.
Children of today will see any events that occur straight through to 2100. However, what if astronomers have their calculations slightly wrong – if not for the 2029 pass, then for the 2036 pass?
And if not then, what threats remain over the three or four decades afterwards? How long before the human race runs out of luck – and what will that impact event look like?
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