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December 10, 2011

The End of the World in 2036?

In June of 2004, astronomers discovered an asteroid known as Apophis with a slightly offset orbit to that of Earth's. It is 320 meters (1050 feet) across. It's been speculated that on Friday, April 13th, 2029, Apophis will make a very close flyby within 5 Earth diameters. But, the exact path that this asteroid follows after its flyby in 2029 will determine if it will smash into the Earth seven years later...

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Posted by rmbonds at December 10, 2011 11:36 AM


This is alarming at first sight. However, I believe we can figure out the best way to avoid such a disaster, whether it be blowing up the asteroid or simply changing its direction by applying some torque.

Posted by: halljo at December 10, 2011 09:05 PM

I think that it's still too early to tell. If this asteroid actually was a big issue, I'm pretty sure it would have been all over the media by now. However, 5 Earth Diameters is pretty close. I guess only time will tell.

Posted by: tmthirty at December 10, 2011 09:53 PM

I also think it's too early to tell. The probability of its collision with Earth is incredibly small

Posted by: jeyhun at December 11, 2011 04:33 PM

This would be something good to track. Although 25 years in the future is a long time for us, this is a short time for the universe considering that the Earth is over 4 billion years old. This asteroid should be tracked and maybe a probe can be send out to avoid this from impacting the Earth.

Posted by: aguneet at December 11, 2011 10:08 PM

This is really scary. Truthfully, for some reason (probably from watching way too much National Geographic/Doomsday movies) this has been a fear of mine and I think most people would agree they would rather be dead than endure a potential asteroid impact. Hopefully future estimates push it further away, I will definitely be paying attention to those result along with the original author!

Should the worst be true, I believe in mankind and think we could come up with a way to save ourselves. Many past science fiction ideas have become reality (submarines, airplanes) so I don't think it's farfetched to think that someday a Bruce Willis-like character may end up saving humanity with his bravery or ideas.

Posted by: fadmonic at December 12, 2011 12:12 AM

After some serious discussion of such events in Astro class I think rockets to change the asteroids orbit are one of the better methods. I'm sure we have nothing to fear from this asteroid! But perhaps, NASA will come up with some scarier ones by 2020, the time when their congressional mandate is up.

Posted by: cato at December 12, 2011 09:08 PM

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