Asteroid Could Have Devastating Collision with Earth in 2068
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 28, 2013 12:59 AM EST
The asteroid 99942 Apophis is likely to fly past Earth in 2029 and 2036 without any impact. However, experts believe there is a chance the asteroid (of 270m diameter) could hit our planet on a third fly-by, in 2068.
The good news is the odds of Apophis hitting the planet are only 2.3 in a million, due to need of a very specific gravitational keyhole. A gravitational keyhole is tiny space within which the Earth's gravity can alter a passing asteroid's trajectory, literally turning it on to itself.
The Times of India indicates there was an earlier probability of impact in 2029 and archival data now suggests there are over a dozen keyholes that fall within range of the 2029 impact. However, the probability of Apophis finding one of those keyholes (and the trajectory thereby altering to a 2036 impact) was calculated to be less than one in one million; this almost certainly rules out an impact.
The bad news, though, is that a two-meter keyhole has been isolated and there is 2.3 in a million chance Apophis will find that space. And if it does, scientists expect an impact in 2068.
How Bad Will it Be?
The Sentry Risk Table estimates the asteroid's atmospheric entry would measure 750 megatons of kinetic energy. In comparison, the biggest hydrogen bomb ever exploded measured 57 megatons. The Tunguska event, which was caused by an asteroid in Russia, was estimated to be between three and 10 megatons.
Apophis came under considerable scrutiny in June 2009 because it was believed the 2029 fly-by would, in fact, trigger the gravitational keyhole, leading to an impact with the planet on its next fly-by.
Check out this video that explains the impact scenarios:
[Courtesy: Immy Khan/YouTube]
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Caught Flirting In A Countryside Dinner Date [PHOTOS]
- Kate Middleton’s Mom Accused Of Being A Social Climber, Prince George Not Seen By Relatives
- Prince William & Kate Middleton Boards London Train in Casual Disguise, Royal Couple’s Incognito Plan A Huge Hit [PHOTOS]
- Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt’s Top Secret Wedding Tramps Jennifer Aniston’s ‘Friends’ Reunion & Pregnancy Talks [PHOTOS]
Join the Conversation
- UFO Sighting in Australia: A Mysterious 'Flying' Object With Changing Colors Observed[Watch Video]
- Volcano Eruption In Iceland: Lava Erupts More Than 50 Meters High, Prompts Aviation Alert [Video]
- Artificial Micro-Humans to Replace Animals in Lab Tests: 90 Million Animal Lives Would be Saved
- Images Of Solar Flare Captured By NASA [Watch Video]
- Volatile Volcanoes Are Waking Up
- 5.5-Inch iPhone 6 is iPhone Air on Sept 19 Release Date: 5 Things to Consider Before Buying
- Pricey iPhone 6 on Release Date Likely but with 3X Retina Resolution & Mobile Payment Service – Reports
- Nexus 6 Release Date Update: Moto X+1 Look Leaked, Nexus X or Shamu Moved to Demo Phase
- Google Nexus 8 Confirmed as HTC T1 aka Volantis/Flounder with Freshly-Leaked Specs & Features – Reports
- Europe, US Next on ISIS’ Hit List, Says Saudi King; Seized ISIS Laptop Reveals Terrifying Bio-Warfare Plans
- iPhone 6 On Release Date To Feature Qualcomm MDM9625M LTE, 1GB RAM, Mobile Payment Deal With AMEX, 1334x750 Display
- HTC One M8 for Windows Vs. Nokia Lumia Icon, The Battle Of Windows Phones