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Asteroid Apophis, “God of Destruction,” will reach Earth in 2029 and may collide with a small spacecraft.

In just under half a decade, a 305-metre-wide asteroid, named after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction, Apophis, will pass within 30,000 miles of Earth. Scientists have no intention of letting the rare close passage of a space rock of this size go to waste They can try to send ships.

April 13, 2029On Friday, when Apophis, officially known as (99942) Apophis, reaches its closest point to Earth, it will become so prominent above our planet that It will be visible to the naked eye. NASA’s OSIRIS-APEX (formerly OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will be available to meet the Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) in person. But if all goes well, it is possible that a large number of small satellites will join this NASA mission during its encounter, according to the specialized website

Within the framework of the auspicious “NEAlight” project, a team from the Julius Maximilians University-University of Würzburg (JMU) led by aerospace engineer Hakan Kayal has unveiled three concepts for this type of spacecraft. It will be for each of the proposed satellites The goal is to exploit this asteroid’s passage because the Earth only encounters it once every millennium. the goal? Collect data that can help scientists better understand the solar system and perhaps help develop defensive measures against dangerous asteroids.

As for why Apophis is an appropriate target for studying planetary defense? good, The asteroid was discovered in 2004, and quickly rose to the top of the risk charts of so-called potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs).Or asteroids 140 meters or more across that lie within 20 lunar distances from Earth.

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The size of Apophis and the close proximity of its path to Earth has kept the asteroid at the top of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) “impact risk” list. From NASA’s Sentinel Risk Table for 17 years. That was until a close flyby of the asteroid, a space rock roughly as wide as the height of the Empire State Building, in March 2021 allowed NASA scientists to determine that Apophis won’t actually hit Earth for at least 100 years.

Although we now know that Apophis will not collide with Earth in the next century, its scientific impact in 2029 will still be enormous, and space agencies in countries around the world will closely monitor its path.

Lovell Loxley

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