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Does this kind of thing worry you?

In 2004, NASA scientists announced that there was a chance that Apophis, an asteroid larger than two football fields, could smash into Earth in 2029. A few additional observations and some number-crunching later, astronomers noted that the chance of the planet-killer hitting Earth in 2029 was nearly zilch.

Now, reports out of Russia say that scientists there estimate Apophis will collide with Earth on April 13, 2036. These reports conflict on the probability of such a doomsday event, but the question remains: How scared should we be?

“Technically, they’re correct, there is a chance in 2036 [that Apophis will hit Earth]," said Donald Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office. However, that chance is just 1-in-250,000, Yeomans said.

The Russian scientists are basing their predictions of a collision on the chance that the 900-foot-long (270 meters) Apophis will travel through what’s called a gravitational keyhole as it passes by Earth in 2029. The gravitational keyhole they mention is a precise region in space, only slightly larger than the asteroid itself, in which the effect of Earth's gravity is such that it could tweak Apophis' path.

“The situation is that in 2029, April 13, [Apophis] flies very close to the 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,” Yeomans 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,” Yeomans said.

Answer Question

Asked by sweet-a-kins at 9:16 AM on Feb. 7, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 34 (67,502 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • I wonder how much is being spent and will be spent on this. When there are definites that are not being addressed.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 9:19 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I just hope it hits directly where I'm standing, so I don't feel anything or go through the aftermath.

    Answer by Sharell8710 at 9:21 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • There is a chance...........
    Anything could happen.
    Not real worried. Why worry about something you can't do anything about?

    Answer by itsmesteph11 at 9:22 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • No, it doesn't worry me. If it happens, it happens. Everyone is going to die at some point, if it's by meteor then it's by meteor. I will be pissed at myself for saving for retirement though. I could be vacationing in France right now!

    Answer by SuperChicken at 9:23 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • No. I do my best to not worry about things I can't control.


    Answer by QuinnMae at 9:24 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Am I reading it correctly that the chances are 1 in 250,000? If so, then no, it's not something I'd lose sleep over at this point.

    Answer by vicesix at 9:24 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • Every day there is a CHANCE that something could hit the Earth.

    I don't worry about it. If it happens, it happens. Death is not the end. My husband says it is just the next step. I say death is just the beginning of a new journey.

    Answer by palexander at 9:27 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • That sort of news doesn't worry me. As others have said, it's not something that we can control, and I don't think Chicken Little was a very happy bird running around in a state of constant panic. Que será, será.


    Answer by jsbenkert at 9:43 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I think they use this kind of stuff to ass more BILLIONS to the goes somewhere but not really where they say it goes fund....


    Comment by sweet-a-kins (original poster) at 9:52 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

  • I'm not worried about kind of that stuff at all.

    Answer by UpSheRises at 9:53 AM on Feb. 7, 2011

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