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Asteroid Apophis Won’t Crash Down on Earth in 2068, Twitter Can't Decide if It's Good News or Bad

Astronomers recently ruled out any impact risk in 2068 and long after by the asteroid Apophis.

Astronomers recently ruled out any impact risk in 2068 and long after by the asteroid Apophis.

The news of the Apophis ended up bringing netizens together in odd ways. While some rejoiced that the earth will continue to flourish, a few were actually disappointed.

The US space agency NASA recently assured that the Earth is safe from the asteroid Apophis for at least a century. The agency has ruled out the possibility of the asteroid impacting Earth in 2068. The results from a new radar observation campaign combined with precise orbit analysis have helped astronomers conclude that there is no risk of Apophis impacting our planet for the next 100 years at least, NASA said. Discovered in 2004, asteroid Apophis, estimated to be about 340 metres across, quickly gained notoriety as an asteroid that could pose a serious threat to Earth when astronomers predicted that it would come uncomfortably close in 2029.

Additional observations of the near-Earth object (NEO), the risk of an impact in 2029 was later ruled out, as was the potential impact risk posed by another close approach in 2036. Until this month, however, a small chance of impact in 2068 still remained. Astronomers took the opportunity to use powerful radar observations to refine the estimate of its orbit around the Sun with extreme precision, enabling them to confidently rule out any impact risk in 2068 and long after.

“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 Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

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The news of the Apophis ended up bringing netizens together in odd ways. While some rejoiced that the earth will continue to flourish, a few were actually disappointed. And some of them were plain hilarious! Check out some of their reactions.

To arrive at the latest Apophis calculations, astronomers turned to the 70-metre radio antenna at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex near Barstow, California, to precisely track Apophis’ motion.

“Although Apophis made a recent close approach with Earth, it was still nearly 17 million kilometres away. Even so, we were able to acquire incredibly precise information about its distance to an accuracy of about 150 metres,” said JPL scientist Marina Brozovic, who led the radar campaign.