Asteroid Collision is a Real Possibility: Apophis Looms in the Dark...
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The collision of Earth with a Near-Earth-Asteroid (NEA) is no longer a sci-fi scare movie,
it has become a real possibility. While scientists differ in their estimates of the
probability of collision they all agree: Asteroid Apophis may collide with Earth in this
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to knock out Earth-bound asteroid?
MOSCOW: Russia is considering sending a spacecraft to a large asteroid to knock it off its
path and prevent a possible collision with Earth, said the head of the country's space
Anatoly Perminov said the space agency will hold a meeting soon to assess a mission to
Apophis, telling Golos Rossii radio that it would invite Nasa, the European Space Agency,
the Chinese space agency and others to join the project once it is finalized.
When the 270m asteroid was discovered in 2004, astronomers estimated the chances of it
smashing into Earth in its first flyby in 2029 were as high as 1-in-37, but have since
lowered their estimate.
Further studies ruled out the possibility of an impact in 2029, when the asteroid is
expected to come no closer than 29,450 kilometers above Earth's surface, but they
indicated a small possibility of a hit on subsequent encounters.
In October, Nasa lowered the odds that Apophis could hit Earth in 2036 from a 1-in-45,000
as earlier thought to a 1-in-250,000 chance after researchers recalculated the asteroid's
path. It said another close encounter in 2068 will involve a 1-in-330,000 chance of
Perminov said that he heard from a scientist that Apophis is getting closer and may hit
the planet. "I don't remember exactly, but it seems to me it could hit the Earth by
2032," Perminov said.
"People's lives are at stake. We should pay several hundred million dollars and build
a system that would allow to prevent a collision, rather than sit and wait for it to
happen and kill hundreds of thousands of people," Perminov said.
"Calculations show that it's possible to create a special purpose spacecraft within
the time we have, which would help avoid the collision without destroying it (the
asteroid) and without detonating any nuclear charges," Perminov said. "The
threat of collision can be averted."
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