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:
Join the Conversation
- Zero-Gravity Update: Coffee Machine Brews Fresh ISSpresso For Astronauts
- Stephen Hawking's Facebook Posts Tell You How The Cosmologist Reacts To 'Theory Of Everything' And 'Interstellar'
- Sydney Heatwave Roundup: Mercury Rising To 40 Degrees, Severe Fire Warnings In Place
- Crop Production Amplifies Carbon Dioxide Cycle
- Musical Training Enhances Long-Term Memory
- Black Friday 2014 Sale: Top Deals On Game Consoles Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Wii U And More
- Walmart Pre-Black Friday 2014 Sale On Nov. 21, 2014 Includes Discounts On The 'NBA 2K15' For PS4 And The 'Skylanders Trap Team’ Starter Kit [WATCH VIDEO]
- Alleged 'Microsoft Lumia 1030' Front Panel Leaked With Capacitive Buttons; 'Xbox One' Owners To Get Free Goodies On Anniversary
- More Bad News for Android 5.0 Lollipop As Problems Come In for Nexus and Other Devices
- BlackBerry Classic (aka Q20) Keyboard Shortcuts Explained In A Quick Video
- US To Supply Defensive Lethal Weapons To Kiev – A Vey Alarming Signal, Says Russia
- Amazon Black Friday 2014 Deals Start On Nov. 21, 2014 Including Limited-Time Lightning Deals And Deals Of The Day On Clothes, Toys, Jewelry, Watches, Bags, Accessories And Electronics