NASA Giant God of Chaos Asteroid Will Fly Past Earth in 2029

first_imgStay on target In 2029, a massive asteroid called 99942 Apophis will fly past our planet at an approximate distance of 19,000 miles within the distance of some orbiting spacecraft. Even though this event is expected to occur 10 years from now, NASA and the asteroid research community are taking action now to plan accordingly.On April 30, the asteroid, which is 1,110 feet in width, was the main topic of a session at the 2019 International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Planetary Defense Conference in College Park, Maryland, where scientists discussed potential observation strategies, exploration missions, and encounter preparation, Newsweek reported.In ten years, a near-Earth asteroid will zoom past our planet. Here’s why scientists are excited about this particular asteroid: https://t.co/pl35II3kml pic.twitter.com/AyaSaRWmlh— NASA JPL (@NASAJPL) April 29, 2019“The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science,” Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, said in a press statement. “We’ll observe the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we might be able to see surface details that are only a few meters in size.”Apophis, which is named after the Egyptian god of chaos, is a rare research opportunity because scientists say most asteroids that pass near our planet aren’t more than 30 feet wide, Fox News noted. The asteroid was originally discovered in 2004 by astronomers at the Kitt Peak National Observatory, which is located in Arizona. The conference session also addressed why it’s important to study the space rock’s interior and how Earth’s gravity might impact it.“We already know that the close encounter with Earth will change Apophis’ orbit, but our models also show the close approach could change the way this asteroid spins, and it is possible that there will be some surface changes, like small avalanches,” Davide Farnocchia, an astronomer at JPL’s Center for Near Earth Objects Studies (CNEOS), said in the press statement. “Planetary Defense”While Earth is safe from all known asteroids, we like to be prepared. Learn more about @NASA’s #PlanetaryDefense efforts: https://t.co/P9bZdreFWo https://t.co/daweB0aBiV pic.twitter.com/Qmow2L1KYO— NASA Solar System (@NASASolarSystem) April 30, 2019On April 13, 2029, the asteroid will be visible to the naked eye, and appear like a moving star over the sky in the Southern Hemisphere, according to NASA. It will start its journey in Australia, fly over the Atlantic Ocean in 60 minutes, and reach the West Coast of the U.S. in the early evening. During this timeframe, scientists will be able to make key observations of the space rock, including its size, shape, and what materials it’s possibly made of.In the meantime, NASA and the asteroid research community, are formulating a planetary defense strategy, so if the asteroid moves closer to our planet, everyone can be prepared in the best way possible.“We have 15 years of optical and radar tracking data on Apophis and so we have a very precise estimate of its orbit through the 2029 encounter with the Earth. The orbit of Apophis after the 2029 encounter has a higher degree of uncertainty, but one that will be reduced by tracking data collected during the next decade,” Farnocchia told Newsweek. “While we cannot yet completely rule out a collision of Apophis after 2060, those chances are extremely small, less than 1 in 100,000.”This week, @NASA is joining with agencies around the world to share information and strategize on asteroids and #PlanetaryDefense. Administrator @JimBridenstine delivers the keynote this morning at 9:20am ET. Watch at https://t.co/CRmd7Xmllz pic.twitter.com/70le1WcM6A— Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) April 29, 2019NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine also emphasized how important it was to prepare for potential asteroid strikes: “We have to make sure that people understand that this is not about Hollywood, it’s not about movies,” Bridenstine said at the conference. “This is about ultimately protecting the only planet we know right now to host life, and that is the planet Earth.”More on Geek.com:NASA, International Partners to Play Out Asteroid Impact ScenarioAsteroid Bennu Is a Technicolor Wonder in Trippy 3D ViewSelf-Driving Spacecraft Could Save Earth From Asteroid Impacts Scientists Uncover New Evidence of Asteroid That Killed DinosaursWashington Monument-Sized Asteroid Will Fly By Earth on Aug. 28 last_img

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