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Scientists cannot rule out the giant asteroid Apophis that hit the Earth in 2068



nasaasteroidillustration

A general representation of the appearance of an asteroid.

NASA/JPL-California Institute of Technology

In a year of so many disasters and stresses, it is no wonder that so many people have been staring at asteroids and whether they will hit the earth. When we consider welcoming the large asteroid Apophis into our neighborhood, this concern will be projected into the future.

Apophis will conduct a series of visits in the coming decades, but that is Cause some dizzy headlines It is currently expected to be close in 2068. The size of the asteroid is estimated to exceed 1,000 feet (300 meters). It’s like flying the Eiffel Tower through space.

Researchers at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii (IfA) announced the discovery of a phenomenon called Yarkovsky acceleration on an asteroid. The university said in a statement in late October: “This acceleration is caused by the extremely weak force exerted on the object due to uneven thermal radiation.” Due to the influence of sunlight, this is actually negligible, but with Over time, it will change the path of the asteroid.

Previously, scientists believed that there would be no impact on the Earth in 2068. IfA astronomer Dave Tholen said the new observations “show that the asteroid drifts about 170 meters a year from a pure gravitational orbit, which is enough to make the 2068 impact situation work.”

Apophis was first discovered in 2004, and as more and more data are collected, scientists are revising our understanding of its path.in In 2013, researchers determined that it would not beat us in 2036.

The impact of 2029 was previously excluded. Apophis will be closed on Friday, April 13, 2029, and it should be visible on Earth with the naked eye. This visit will help astronomers understand the future trajectory of the asteroid.

At the same time, scientists are studying ways to deal with potentially dangerous asteroids. NASA’s DART mission, For example, will demonstrate a method that involves ramming a spacecraft into an asteroid’s satellite to make it move slightly. If feasible, the concept could be used to put threatening asteroids on safer paths.

The uncertainty about Apophis is a bit troubling, but you shouldn’t write the end time on your calendar yet. The University of Hawaii said: “Astronomers will know whether it may be affected before 2068.” Sit still. Scientists are paying close attention to it.


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