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by falkor » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:07 pm
by rob42 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:57 pm
Kelly Beatty wrote:After tracking asteroid 99942 Apophis with NASA's giant Goldstone radar dish, astronomers are now certain that the threatening asteroid has no chance of striking Earth in 2036.
Astronomers surely enjoy dramatic stories as much as the rest of us. But today they played spoilers with the welcome announcement that the sizable Earth-crossing asteroid 99942 Apophis will pose no threat when it comes near our planet in 2036.
We haven't heard the last word on this little interplanetary demon. Goldstone radar observations of Apophis will continue through January 17th, and additional tracking is planned next month with the giant Arecibo radio dish in Puerto Rico. All that pinging should yield super-accurate positional data and, perhaps, reveal the asteroid's shape and spin state.
But the worry about Apophis has only been postponed, not eliminated. Its orbit is not all that different from Earth's, and some day in the distant future the two bodies will either have a catastrophic collision — or an encounter so close that Earth's gravity will yank Apophis onto a new and significantly different interplanetary path.
by Apophis » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:45 am