Asteroid Apophis will swing past Earth in 2029 — could a space rock collision make it hit us?


The asteroid Apophis, infamous because it’s headed to brush past Earth in 2029, most likely isn’t something to worry about, a new study finds. This space rock, scientists calculated, will not collide with other space rocks that could worryingly alter its orbit and redirect it toward Earth — at least until the day it swings past our planet, that is.

Apophis is a peanut-shaped, near-Earth asteroid leftover from the formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. It wobbles back and forth even while spinning on its axis and rotating once every 30 hours. On April 13, 2029, the space rock is scheduled to approach Earth, coming within 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) of our planet’s surface. The event will mark the closest Earth flyby of an asteroid of this size that scientists managed to forewarn. It’s also when NASA’s OSIRIS-APEX spacecraft, formerly named OSIRIS-REx, is scheduled to encounter Apophis.

Leave a Comment