According to NASA scientists, one of the largest asteroids ever recorded will graze past Earth in 2019. The asteroid, named 99942 Apophis, is thought to be the size of the Eiffel Tower and its effects could be devastating for our planet’s satellites.
Approaching Earth in 2029
Named after the Egyptian deity Apophis, the Great serpent that represents chaos and darkness, this cosmic rock is currently 16.7 million kilometres away from the Earth—this is approximately 44 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon. It is said to be heading Earth’s way and will pass our planet in eight years. NASA believes that this is the closest a rock has ever flown so far. In fact, according to the institute, it could collide with several communications satellites that we heavily rely on.
Studying the cosmos
In the video above, NASA has portrayed what the interaction between the Earth and the asteroid would look like from a distance. All the dots are satellites, and the International Space Station is pink. As is shown, the space rock may very well obliterate the satellites that are in its path.
When this spatial object of ‘darkness and chaos’ was first discovered in 2004, scientists were concerned that it may hit the Earth. However, since then, its orbit has been accurately measured and we now know that human civilisation will remain untouched. Now that our safety has been confirmed, scientists are hoping to use this opportunity to study the asteroid closely.