An asteroid, named ‘God of Chaos’, which currently looks like a giant pebble hurtling through space, could come crashing into Earth in 10 years, with the power of 65,000 Hiroshima nuclear bombs. Though the chances of head-on collision of this 370-meter asteroid are 1 in 45000. It will pass within just 30,000km of earth’s surface.
On August 19, 2019, NASA has revealed images of the ‘God of Chaos’ asteroid which has left some scientists worried. Although scientists have “predicted the possibility” of the 370-meter asteroid crashing into Earth in 2029 or 2036, (minimum 10 years from now). The asteroid was named by NASA as 99942 Apophis after the Ancient Egyptian god of evil, darkness and destruction, which birthed the nickname ‘God of Chaos’.
While on August 19, 2019, the founder of SpaceX Elon Musk had twitted “ A big rock will hit the earth and currently we have no defense”.
But NASA has already begun preparation for the arrival of massive 99942 Apophis. Apophis is traveling at almost 25,000 mph meaning a slight detour from its trajectory could be catastrophic. It is one of the largest asteroids to pass so close to the earth. It is getting closer to earth than our weather and communication satellites which are mostly 36000 km away from planet.
Apophis’ size and proximity to Earth have resulted in it being categorized as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) and NASA is keen to learn as much from the asteroid as possible to help prevent further asteroid issues in the future.
The scientists are aware that as the asteroid flies by the planet in 2029, its orbit trajectory may also change thus raising fears that in the future the massive rock could collide with the planet.
Images of Apophis were taken over a week-long period by NASA telescopes at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and the Pan-STARRS observatories, which are dotted across the Hawaiian Islands.
If the 27billion kg asteroid were to hit Earth, scientists at the Observatory of Turin in Italy calculate that it would leave a crater over a mile wide and a staggering 518 meters deep.
However, its impact would be terrifying almost equivalent to 880 million tons of TNT being detonated some 65,000 times as hazardous as the nuclear bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.
Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at JPL, said: “We have effectively ruled out the possibility of an Earth impact by Apophis in 2036. The impact odds as they stand now are less than one in a million, which makes us comfortable saying we can effectively rule out an Earth impact in 2036. Our interest in asteroid Apophis will essentially be for its scientific interest for the foreseeable future.”