To be precise, 99942 Apophis will come within 19,000 miles of Earth on April 13, 2029.
The name the “God of Chaos” sounds like a new video game release. But according to NASA an asteroid will come dangerously close to Earth in the next decade, and this asteroid is what is given the moniker “God of Chaos”. The asteroid’s official name is 99942 Apophis, after the Egyptian god of chaos. According to the scientists that are tracking it, the asteroid is 1,110-foot-wide and will fly as close to the Earth as some of the orbiting spacecraft which is causing scientists to panic.
To be precise, 99942 Apophis will come within 19,000 miles of Earth on April 13,2029. Will it cause eminent destruction? What are scientists doing about it? Well, currently scientists at the Planetary Defense Conference are already preparing for the encounter and they plan to discuss the asteroid’s effects on Earth’s gravity, potential research opportunities and even how to deflect an incoming asteroid in a theoretical scenario.
Taking preparation one step further, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is teaming up with NASA to hold an apocalyptic-type drill intended to ‘inform involved players of important aspects of a possible disaster and identify issues for accomplishing a successful response’.
The scenario begins with the fictional premise that on March 26, astronomers “discovered” a near- Earth object (comets or asteroids which come within 30 million miles of humanity) they consider potentially hazardous to Earth, stated NASA.
“After a ‘few months’ of tracking, observers predict that this NEO — dubbed 2019 PDC — poses a 1 in 100 chance of impact with Earth in 2027 (in real life, the international community has decided that a 1 in 100 chance of impact is the threshold for action). Participants in this exercise will discuss potential preparations for asteroid reconnaissance and deflection missions and planning for mitigation of a potential impact’s effects.”
The scenario is extremely close to what is expected to happen. According to NASA, 99942 Apophis will be visible to the naked eye and will look like a moving star point of light. It is expected to pass over the United States in the early evening. 99942 Apophis was first discovered in 2004 and, after tracking it for 15 years, scientists say the asteroid has a 1 in 100,000 chance of striking Earth.
By: Alexandria Addesso, Kean College, New Jersey.