This Gigantic Asteroid Could Destroy Earth in 2036

Thursday, 30 November 2017 - 11:08AM
Astronomy
Earth
Thursday, 30 November 2017 - 11:08AM
This Gigantic Asteroid Could Destroy Earth in 2036
Image credit: YouTube
Don't panic, but a giant asteroid may hit Earth in 2036.

Or, at least, it's going to get pretty close to Earth. The jury's still out as to whether or not the enormous rock, named Apophis, will actually collide with our planet.

If you've heard rumors recently of the end of the world coming in the form of a giant asteroid from space, then you're not alone—there's been a lot of discussion lately about this possible harbinger of doom and what might happen when it arrives in 2036.

When Apophis was originally discovered in 2004, things didn't look good for our little civilization. It was predicted that the asteroid, which is just over a thousand feet wide (longer than the Empire State Building), stood a pretty good chance of crashing down onto our world.




At the time, it looked an awful lot like Apophis would hit us in 2029, which is barely more than a decade away. The good news is that in the years since this initial prediction, scientists have ruled out the possibility of a collision happening in that year.

That said, Apophis won't stay away for long. It'll be back by 2036, and scientists do estimate that there is a chance it could hit us then.

It's worth noting, though, that an official NASA statement makes it clear that there is a very, very slim chance of it happening, and over the years, our prediction of the trajectory of the asteroid relative to our position in the solar system only seems to suggest that it's increasingly unlikely that we'll get an unpleasant visit from a fiery rock of death.

At present, scientists do not consider the chances of Apophis colliding with Earth to be particularly high. Currently, 2036 has been disregarded as a potential time when the asteroid might hit us, and scientists are instead expecting the first chance we might actually meet the thing head on would be 2068 when there's a staggering three in a million chance of collision.

These aren't completely impossible odds, but it's not looking like we ought to worry too much. For all that humanity is twitchy about asteroids after what happened to the dinosaurs, a falling rock would need to hit a very specific few places on Earth in order to cause the kind of widespread destruction that killed off our giant avian forebears.

That said, if this asteroid were to hit us, no matter where it landed, there's sure to be some problems. The most likely outcome, given that the Earth is mostly covered in water, would be that Apophis would plop into an ocean, causing mass tidal waves and tsunamis that could drown millions of people, depending on where exactly the asteroid lands.

Alternatively, if Apophis drops down on dry ground, it would leave a crater that would be over two and a half miles wide, and again, could really mess things up for whatever poor humans might be in the nearby vicinity.

Luckily, by the time this space rock actually poses a threat, the world's asteroid defense system should be even more advanced than it is currently. We'll be able to get a good look at where the asteroid is going to land, and based on that, humanity will turn to the works of Michael Bay for inspiration, either sending up a team of miners to explode Apophis before it gets too close, or building some kind of giant transforming robot to do the heavy lifting for us.

If all else fails, our planet ought to have an anti-asteroid laser system in place by the time Apophis poses a real threat. We'll all be fine..
Science
Space
Astronomy
Earth
This Giant Asteroid Could Destroy Earth in 2036
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