NASA wants to intercept this asteroid that threatens the Earth

News hardware NASA wants to intercept this asteroid that threatens the Earth

The threat is not new, the near-Earth asteroid Apophis was discovered in June 2004 and has been the subject of special attention and monitoring by NASA ever since. The latter had even classified it at level 4 of the objects to be followed at risk of collision with the Earth before re-evaluating this risk to the downside.

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If today the risk of seeing the asteroid Apophis collide with Earth in the next hundred years has dropped to level 0 on the Turin scale, when it was discovered in 2004, it was another story altogether.

For those who are not very comfortable in astronomy, the Turin scale is a method for classifying the risk of impact between the Earth and objects close to the Earth such as comets or asteroids, such as Aphophis, also known as “99942”.

NASA wants to intercept this asteroid that threatens the Earth

The scale goes from level 0 “no risk” to level 10 “A certain collision causes a global climate catastrophe that could threaten the future of humanity“. This threat could occur on average less than once every 100,000 years. A figure that basically we do not know if it is frightening or reassuring.

Apophis, a near-Earth asteroid nearly 350 meters under surveillance

In its first assessment, Apophis ranked 4 on the Turin scale with a possible collision risk by 2029, or tomorrow … Subsequently, in 2006, the risk was finally estimated at 1 / 45,000 for 2036. In 2009 , after a new study, NASA this time estimated the probability at 1 / 250,000 before postponing this deadline once again to 2068.

In its latest report, in 2021, NASA finally downgraded Apophis to threat rank 0, rejecting any risk of collision over the next 100 years. But NASA could exploit the “low” distance (about 32,000 km) that will separate the earth from the asteroid in 2029, to try to intercept it in order to study its composition, characteristics, trajectory or even map it with precision. to get as much information as possible.

Because if the collision is obviously the greatest threat, the passage of such a large asteroid (about 350 m long by 27 million tons !!!) very close to the Earth can cause a whole series of phenomena that will be extremely rewarding to follow.

And if NASA rules out any risk of any kind to humans or the environment, know that April 13, 2029, the day Apophis will pass closest to Earth, should be visible to the naked eye and will no doubt make the rounds of the news.

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