CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) — NASA has given Earth the all-clear for the next century from a particularly menacing asteroid.
The space agency announced this week that new telescope observations have ruled out any chance of Apophis smacking Earth in 2068.
That’s the same 1,100-foot (340-meter) 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 had 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 anymore, and our calculations don’t show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years,” Davide Farnocchia of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, said in a statement Friday.
Scientists were able to refine Apophis’s orbit around the sun thanks to radar observations earlier this month, when the asteroid passed within 10.6 million miles (17 million kilometers).
Apophis will come within 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) on April 13, 2029 — about a tenth of the distance between the Earth and the moon — enabling astronomers to get a good look.
“When I started working with asteroids after college, Apophis was the poster child for hazardous asteroids,” Farnocchia said. “There’s a certain sense of satisfaction to see it removed from the risk list.”
I’m proud to work at The Times of Israel
I’ll tell you the truth: Life here in Israel isn’t always easy. But it’s full of beauty and meaning.
I’m proud to work at The Times of Israel alongside colleagues who pour their hearts into their work day in, day out, to capture the complexity of this extraordinary place.
I believe our reporting sets an important tone of honesty and decency that’s essential to understand what’s really happening in Israel. It takes a lot of time, commitment and hard work from our team to get this right.
Your support, through membership in The Times of Israel Community, enables us to continue our work. Would you join our Community today?
Sarah Tuttle Singer, New Media Editor
You’re serious. We appreciate that!
We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.
That’s why we come to work every day – to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.
So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.
For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.