26 March 2021

Earth safe from asteroid for 100 years, says Nasa

26 March 2021

Nasa has given Earth the all clear for the next century from a particularly menacing asteroid.

The space agency announced that new telescope observations have ruled out any chance of Apophis smacking Earth in 2068.

It is the same 1,100ft space rock that was supposed to come frighteningly close in 2029 and again in 2036.

Nasa ruled out any chance of a strike during those two close approaches a while ago – but a potential 2068 collision still loomed.

First detected in 2004, Apophis is now officially off Nasa’s asteroid “risk list”.

“A 2068 impact is not in the realm of possibility any more, and our calculations don’t show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years,” said Davide Farnocchia of Nasa’s Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies.

Scientists refined Apophis’s orbit around the sun thanks to radar observations earlier this month, when the asteroid passed within 10.6 million miles.

Apophis will come within 20,000 miles on April 13 2029, enabling astronomers to get a good look.

“When I started working with asteroids after college, Apophis was the poster child for hazardous asteroids,” Mr Farnocchia said.

“There’s a certain sense of satisfaction to see it removed from the risk list.”

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