Apophis is the name of the demon of darkness and chaos in ancient Egyptian mythology. This term is a perfect fit for an asteroid that is expected to hit our planet on Friday the 13th and end or change the future of our civilization. As more information was obtained about it, the vision of Earth's destruction began to recede, so it became quiet about it. Now, however, the topic returns as the latest data indicate that the risk of an impact has started to increase strongly.
Apophis on Friday, April 13, 2029, will fly as close to our planet as no other object of such a large diameter. A 330-meter rock will approach us only 30,000 kilometers, which is 12 times closer than the Moon. There are hundreds of telecommunications satellites in this space. Scientists have calculated that if it hits our planet, it will generate an explosion power equal to 880 million tons of TNT.
The latest observations indicate that the object began to accelerate. Scientists at the University of Hawai have no illusions that this is very disturbing news for humanity. The asteroid accelerated due to the heterogeneous radiation. The potential date of the end of the world has already been set, but the cosmic rock may surprise us even more by the so-called "Jarkowski effect". It turns out that the asteroid moves away from the purely gravitational orbit by about 170 meters per year and is accelerating. This is because the object heats up and the energy evaporates in the form of heat, which acts like a jet engine.
Scientists from NASA and ESA have calculated that Apophis will pass the Earth in April 2029 at a distance of more than 30,000 kilometers, and the risk of a collision will be 2.7%. If it does not hit Earth, the next, even closer meeting will take place on April 12, 2068. At the moment, astronomers cannot say how this event will unfold as we have too little data on this. Everything should become clear in less than 9 years.
Perhaps few of us are aware of the fact that space agencies from different countries of the world have already started frantic preparations for the encounter with this mysterious and terrifying cosmic rock. Undoubtedly, it will be one of the best opportunities in our life to conduct research on such objects. That is why Apophis is still very popular in the world of astronomy and the space industry.
The Americans and the Japanese are testing technologies to help neutralize such objects on two distant asteroids. China will join them soon. Middle Kingdom has a plan to send a research probe to Apophis to find out what it is made of and whether it can be used for raw material.