No chance: Apophis will not fly to Earth after colliding with another asteroid

Scientists have calculated the chances that the asteroid Apophis will collide with another space rock and become dangerous for our planet again. The chances of this turned out to be zero.

Asteroid Apophis. Source:

Asteroid Apophis

When it was first discovered in 2004, Apophis was identified as one of the most dangerous asteroids because there was a risk that it could collide with Earth. But over the years, the trajectory of this object, with catalog number 99942, was determined more accurately, and it turned out that the threat was not as great as it was thought. A new study led by Western astronomer Paul Wiegert finds out what happens if the orbit of this object changes after a collision with another space rock. 

Apophis is a near-Earth object with a diameter of about 335 meters, infamous for its future close flyby of the Earth, which are expected in 2029 and 2036. (It is expected that on April 13, 2029, it will safely pass at a distance of 37,399 kilometers).

Although scientists have long determined that in these cases the asteroid will safely bypass the Earth. Wiegert and his collaborator Benjamin Hyatt from the University of Waterloo calculated the trajectories of all 1.3 million known asteroids in the Solar System to exclude the possibility that Apophis could collide with another asteroid, redirecting its intended path to Earth.

Calculations of astronomers

Scientists have calculated the trajectories of all known asteroids using a detailed computer simulation of our Solar System, and assessed the possibility of such an unlikely event. Fortunately, such collisions are not expected.

“Given how closely Apophis will pass Earth, there is a possible risk that a deflection from its current trajectory may move Apophis closer to impacting us,” said Hyatt, an undergraduate student at Waterloo who helped with this study over two summer months. “Hypothetically, another asteroid colliding with Apophis could cause such a deflection, motivating us to study this scenario however unlikely it may be.”

All the upcoming encounters of this space rock with other objects were identified by Wiegert and Hyatt for further monitoring in order to maintain situational awareness and clarify their orbits, but the overall risk of Apophis colliding with a known asteroid is practically zero.

According to

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