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It's okay, we're not going to be hit by an asteroid in 2036

NASA claims Earthlings can rest easy for now.
NASA claims Earthlings can rest easy for now. Google Earth

WE CAN all rest easy - NASA scientists have obtained new data showing we won't be subject to a pelting from the asteroid Apophis in 2036.

Updated information obtained in 2011 and 2012, as well as recent data collected during the lead-up to Apophis' cruise past earth yesterday shows the asteroid no longer poses a risk to Earth.

Apophis, which is the size of three-and-a-half-football fields, could have posed a severe threat to Earth and wiped out human life if it veered into our path.

The asteroid was originally discovered in 2004 and first calculations suggested a potential collision in 2029, which was later amended to 2036.

However, Apophis will make history in 2029 when the celestial body comes about 31,000 kilometres above the Earth's surface - which is relatively rare for such a huge asteroid.

NASA near-earth object program manager Don Yeomans said a smaller asteroid would pass by our planet next year.

"A closer approach by a lesser-known asteroid is going to occur in the middle of next month when a 40-metre-sized asteroid, 2012 DA14, flies safely past Earth's surface at about 17,200 miles," he said.

"With new telescopes coming online, the upgrade of existing telescopes and the continued refinement of our orbital determination process, there's never a dull moment working on near-earth objects."

 

>> Read more 
>> Asteroid watch 
>> Monitor asteroids on Twitter 

Topics:  astronomy education nasa science


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