An asteroid striking the Earth on Easter Sunday 2036 could result in millions of deaths worldwide, according to scientists.
According to astronomers in Russia, the 300-yard-wide Apophis asteroid could collide with Earth in 25 years’ time on April 13, 2036. Even if that particular asteroid misses us, scientists have warned that its just a matter of time before another one successfully strikes Earth.
Dailymail.co.uk reports: Donald Yeomans, head of Nasa’s Near Earth Object Program office, said there is a remote chance the asteroid could collide with Earth.
‘The situation is that in 2029, on April 13, Apophis flies very close to Earth, within five Earth radii, so that will be quite an event, but we’ve already ruled out the possibility of it hitting at that time,’ he told Life’s Little Mysteries.
‘On the other hand, if it goes through what we call a keyhole during that close Earth approach then it will indeed be perturbed just right so that it will come back and smack Earth on April 13, 2036.’
Although Russian scientists are predicting the asteroid may strike earth in 2036, Mr Yeomans said it is highly unlikely.
Professor Leonid Sokolov of the St Petersburg State University told the RiaNovosti website: ‘Apophis will approach Earth at a distance of 37,000-38,000 kilometres (per hour) on April 13, 2029.
‘Its likely collision with Earth may occur on April 13, 2036. Our task is to consider various alternatives and develop scenarios and plans of action depending on the results of further observations of Apophis.’
Russian scientists held a meeting 14 months ago to look at launching an operation to knock the asteroid off path.
However, U.S. scientists have estimated the actual chance of it happening is one in 250,000. Although it is big enough to cause a lot of damage to the planet it would not bring about the Armageddon.
If it is discovered that Apophis is on course to crash into the earth, Nasa would attempt to take evasive action to change its path. The easiest way of doing this would be to crash an unmanned spaceship into the asteroid
Just last Friday, Asteroid 2011 CQ1 shot over the Pacific at just 3,400 miles above the Earth’s surface.
In July 2005, Nasa deliberately crashed its Deep Impact probe into comet Tempel 1 in an operation to study the interior of a comet. The mission revealed that a comet’s nucleus is more dusty and less icy than had previously been believed.
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