Death is certain, life is not. So the saying goes and death will most certainly be very certain should an asteroid called “Apophis” visit our beautiful planet in 31 years time.
NASA has decided that this 390 metre-wide boulder has an “outside chance” of causing a large dent in the side of planet earth, causing enough released energy to rival that of 100,000 Hirishima bombs. That’ll smart a bit.
Scientists have already determined that it’ll swing on by some time in 2029 but it’ll miss us then. Unfortunately the Earth will affect it’s future progress and increase the chances of a fiery death for us all.
Alan Fitzsimmons, an astronomer from Queen’s University Belfast, said: “When it does pass close to us on April 13 2029, the Earth will deflect it and change its orbit. There’s a small possibility that if it passes through a particular point in space, the so-called keyhole, … the Earth’s gravity will change things so that when it comes back around again in 2036, it will collide with us.” The chance of Apophis passing through the keyhole, a 600-metre patch of space, is 1 in 5,500 based on current information.
Luckily these clever sods at NASA and the like are trying to think of ways to deflect it away from it’s appointment with Doom. Let’s hope that they can figure it out. A 1 in 5,500 chance of dying by rogue asteroid when I’m in my 60s might seem good odds but I’d rather not take that chance, thanks.