Home News and Politics You won’t believe what’s heading towards Earth in 2029! Get ready for an asteroid the size of Empire State Building about to make a close encounter, astronomers reveal!

You won’t believe what’s heading towards Earth in 2029! Get ready for an asteroid the size of Empire State Building about to make a close encounter, astronomers reveal!

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You won’t believe what’s heading towards Earth in 2029! Get ready for an asteroid the size of Empire State Building about to make a close encounter, astronomers reveal!

Asteroid the Size of Empire State Building to Pass Close to Earth in 5-1/2 Years

In about 5-1/2 years, astronomers predict that an asteroid, roughly the same width as the Empire State Building is tall, will come within 32,200 km of Earth. This will be the closest any celestial object of its size has come to our planet in modern history.

A NASA spacecraft launched in 2016 is expected to be in position to closely observe this rare encounter. The mission, led by University of Arizona scientists, aims to provide valuable information about planetary formation and potentially inform the development of a defense system against asteroid collisions with Earth.

Mission Overview


Click to play video: 'NASA Psyche mission: Spacecraft set to launch for metal-rich asteroid visit'


NASA Psyche mission: Spacecraft set to launch for metal-rich asteroid visit


The asteroid, called Apophis, was initially thought to pose a potential impact threat to Earth in 2029. However, further observations have ruled out any risk of collision for at least another century.

Despite this, Apophis will come extremely close to Earth in 2029, passing within a distance equivalent to less than one-tenth of the moon’s distance and well within the orbits of some Earth satellites.

The spacecraft, originally named OSIRIS-REx, which successfully collected a soil sample from a different asteroid and returned it to Earth in 2020, has been renamed OSIRIS-APEX and repositioned to rendezvous with Apophis. The mission will last for 18 months, during which time the spacecraft will orbit, maneuver around, and hover just above the asteroid’s surface, providing valuable insights into its composition and structure.

Planetary Science and Defence

Apophis, like other asteroids, is a remnant of the early solar system, offering clues to the origin and development of rocky planets like Earth. The close examination of Apophis can provide valuable information about the structure and properties of asteroids, aiding experts in developing effective asteroid-deflection strategies to mitigate potential impact threats.

NASA conducted a planetary-defense test last year by deliberately crashing a spacecraft into a small asteroid, marking the first time humanity has altered the natural motion of a celestial body.


Click to play video: 'Bennu asteroid: NASA’s first sample lands, ending 7-year OSIRIS-REx space mission'


Bennu asteroid: NASA’s first sample lands, ending 7-year OSIRIS-REx space mission


While the impact of an Apophis-sized asteroid would not be globally catastrophic, it could still cause significant damage to a major city or region if it were to strike. The high speed at which the asteroid would travel upon impact could produce devastating effects.

Astronomers estimate that an asteroid of this size passing close to Earth occurs approximately once every 7,500 years. This upcoming encounter with Apophis is the first of its kind to be predicted in advance.


Click to play video: 'NASA’s 1st asteroid sample lands in Utah desert'


NASA’s 1st asteroid sample lands in Utah desert



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