First detected in 2004, Apophis is now officially off NASA’s “risk list” for asteroids.
Phew, now here’s some good cosmic news: NASA has given Earth the green light for the next century from a particularly menacing asteroid.
The space agency announced this week that new telescope observations have ruled out any chance of Apophis hitting Earth in 2068.
It’s the same 1,100-foot (340-meter) space rock that was supposed to creep in close in 2029 and again in 2036. NASA ruled out any possibility of a strike during these two close approaches some time ago. . But a potential collision in 2068 was still looming.
First detected in 2004, Apophis is now officially off NASA’s asteroid “risk list”.
“A 2068 impact is no longer in the realm of possibility, and our calculations show no risk of impact for at least the next 100 years,” Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies said on Friday.
Scientists were able to refine Apophis’ orbit around the sun thanks to radar observations earlier this month, when the asteroid passed within 17 million kilometers.
Apophis will arrive in a radius of 32,000 kilometers on April 13, 2029, which will allow astronomers to take a look.
“When I started working with asteroids after college, Apophis was the go-to kid for dangerous asteroids,” Farnocchia said. “There is a certain sense of satisfaction to see it taken off the risk list.”