Russian Scientists Warn A Massive Asteroid Could Strike Earth In 2068

Image Credit: 1980supra / Pixabay.

It’s nothing new that some of the biggest threats to human survival are Asteroids and Comets.

Perhaps the best example is the Dinosaur-Killing space rock that impacted Earth some 66 million years ago, bringing an end to the dominant species on Earth during that time.

The asteroid that brought an end to the dinosaurs is thought to have been so large; it left a massive scar on our planet.

Dubbed the Chicxulub Crater, it is estimated to be 150 kilometers (93 miles) in diameter and 20 km (12 mi) in depth.

Now, Russian scientists have warned that an asteroid could potentially impact our plant in the near future.

Named after the Ancient Egyptian god of darkness, destruction, and evil, Apophis 99942 is most likely going to skim past Earth in 2029 at a distance of 37,600km (23,363 miles) worryingly, just a tenth of the distance between our planet and its moon.

And while it is expected to miss the planet in 2029, scientists have warned it may not miss our planet during its following approaches.

According to scientists from the Department of Celestial Mechanics at St. Petersburg State University, the 370-meter-wide asteroid could collide with our planet at a mind-bending speed of 7.43km per second in 2068.

However, to collide with the planet in 2068, scientists have explained that the space rock would somehow have to pass through a two-meter wide area of space as it makes its approach to Earth in 2029.

“The [asteroid’s] approach causes a significant scattering of possible trajectories, among them trajectories indicating convergence in 2051,” the scientific paper reads.

“Further orbital resonance reentries contain a great number (about one hundred) possible collisions between Apophis and the Earth, the most dangerous of them in 2068.”

Apophis is expected to make a number of flybys close to earth in the near future, which will increase the risk of cosmic debris to orbiting satellites.

The massive chunk of rock is expected to come within 16 million kilometers of our planet in 2044, 760,000km in 2051, and within 5 million kilometers in 2060, and ‘a mere’ 100,000km in 2068.

Scientists believe that on average, a space object of similar size to Apophis (370 meters) can be expected to collide with Earth every 80,000 years approximately.

The asteroid was discovered on June 19, 2004, by Roy A. Tucker, David J. Tholen, and Fabrizio Bernardi at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.

And while Russian scientists warn that Apophis may pose a threat to our planet, NASA doesn’t seem to be worried.

In fact, according to observations made in 2015, the 2068 impact is now 6.7 in a million (1 in 150,000), and Apophis has a cumulative 9 in a million (1 in 110,000) chance of impacting Earth before 2106.

Featured Image Credit: 1980supra / Pixabay. 

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