NASA has begun preparations for the upcoming ‘God of Chaos’ asteroid Apophis, considered potentially hazardous to Earth as it passes too close to the planet.
NASA has already begun preparations for the arrival of asteroid 99942 Apophis – dubbed the ‘God of Chaos’ asteroid – which will skim past the earth in 10 years. The asteroid measures 340 meters across and will pass within just 19,000 miles of Earth’s surface. Apophis is one of the largest asteroids to pass so close to the Earth’s surface and a collision with the planet has the potential to be devastating for all life on Earth.
The asteroid is set to get closer to the earth than communication and weather satellites in orbit. Most satellites in Earth’s orbit are geostationary orbit 36,000 km away (22,236 miles) from the planet.
Apophis is travelling at almost 25,000 mph meaning a slight detour from its trajectory could be catastrophic.
Apophis’ size and proximity to Earth have resulted in it being categorised as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) and NASA is keen to learn as much from the asteroid as possible to help prevent further asteroid issues in the future.
NASA scientist are aware that as the asteroid flies by the planet in 2029, its orbit trajectory may also change thus raising fears that in the future the massive rock could collide with the planet.
The rock is expected to shine exceptionally bright in the sky and pick up speed as it flies across the sky in 2029.
NASA have become preparing for the asteroid Apophis passing by the Earth in 2029 (Image: NASA)
The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science according to NASA scientists (Image: NASA)
It will be travelling so fast it is will cross the width of the Moon in a minute and be as brightly lit as stars in the night sky.
According to some researchers, the immense size of the rock is not a cause for concern as there is a 1 to 100,000 chance of the asteroid striking the earth.
NASA have begun preparing to study the rock as it flies past earth and insisted it would be a great opportunity for the world to learn more about similar asteroids.
Radar NASA scientist Marina Brozovic said: “The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science.”
Astronomer Davide Farnocchia added: “We already know that the close encounter with Earth will change Apophis’ orbit.
The asteroid will first be visible to the naked eye in the night sky over the Southern Hemisphere in Australia (Image: Getty)
Asteroids true value – revealed (Image: EXPRESS)
“But our models also show the close approach could change the way this asteroid spins and it is possible that there will be some surfaces changes, like small avalanches.”
The path of the asteroid as it passes by the planet has also been estimated by scientists.
It will be first visible to the naked eye when it arrives in the night sky over the Southern Hemisphere, shooting across the east coast to the west coast of Australia.
It will continue to make its way around the world, cross the Indian Ocean on its way to the US.