Close approach of asteroid Apophis, 2029

Close approach of asteroid Apophis, 2029

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Close approach of near-Earth asteroid Apophis on 13th April 2029. The white bar shows the error in the calculation. Initial calculations showed that there was a chance that it would strike Earth at this approach. Subsequent studies have shown that it will miss Earth, but only by around 36,000 kilometres, the same distance at which geostationary satellites orbit Earth. This approach may deflect it enough for it to collide with Earth on its 2036 approach. Apophis is 250 metres wide, too small for an impact to wipe out life on Earth, but it would devastate a wide area, releasing 65,000 times as much energy as the Hiroshima atom bomb.

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