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).
Studies confirm there is no risk of asteroid 99942 Apophis impacting Earth for at least another century. Originally identified in 2004, new data have better defined the orbit of Apophis, putting astronomers at ease. Learn more: https://t.co/6a7zxeSLYF pic.twitter.com/EX8KXlXpWP— NASA (@NASA) March 26, 2021
God's not ready to anhiliate us just yet.— Charlotte Miller (@Charlot82748381) March 27, 2021
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.
So what you're saying is that we have at least 100 years to prepare for it? If we take this seriously then we should be ready by the time it becomes an issue.— Antimidas (@iamtheantimidas) March 27, 2021
I just want it come faster— Mauricio Xavier (@MXavierMTB) March 26, 2021
NO! There is!I suggest you to research ✍🏽— U Kün’taş This (@sercinyus) March 26, 2021
Good because I truly didn't have "getting destroyed by an asteroid" on my bingo card! 🙃😌— nafeesah malik (@bossladymalik) March 26, 2021
Oh Thank God I won’t be alive then 😂. One pandemic is enough for this lifetime 🙏— Roseaal (@Roseaal88) March 26, 2021
Then I’m happy and can enjoy the COVID lockdown … THX 99942 Apophis see u in a century— Wolfgang Selle (@wnifbc) March 26, 2021
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.