Asteroid with more force than biggest nuclear bomb to come close to Earth in 2029

The bad news: an asteroid as big as the Eiffel Tower and named after a god of chaos is heading towards the Earth. The good news: it is expected to miss.

Scientists in Russia have projected that the asteroid Apophis will skim past the Earth in April 2029 in what could be the closest encounter the planet has had with a rock of its size.

Apophis will come within 39,000km (24,000 miles) of the Earth’s surface – close to the distance at which television satellites operate – according to forecasts by the Russian emergencies ministry, news agency Sputnik reported.

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That is in line with previous calculations by US space agency Nasa, which in March ruled out Apophis smacking Earth in 2068 and estimated it would miss it by less than 32,000km in seven years’ time.

With a diameter of about 340 metres (1,115 feet), Apophis – named after the ancient Egyptian god of chaos – was described by Nasa as “one of the most hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth” after astronomers at a US observatory detected its existence in 2004.

Scientists in Hong Kong said it was highly unlikely that the rock would hit satellites or the Chinese or international space stations in low-Earth orbit in 2029, although its path would be clearer closer to the time.

“The predicted distance of closest approach is out in the region inhabited by [TV] satellites, but the chances of an impact with any satellite there are minuscule given the relative sizes and speeds compared with the volume of space,” said Quentin Parker, head of the Laboratory for Space Research at the University of Hong Kong.

With information from

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