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Killer Asteroid May Hit Earth by 2039

Written By David D'Angelo on Wednesday, April 16, 2008 | 4/16/2008

While browsing Yahoo I came across this news in which a 13-year old kid corrected a NASA projection of an asteroid named Apophis possibly hitting Earth by 2039. NASA formerly said that this asteroid which will nearly pass Earth in 2029 has a 1 in 45,000 chance of hitting the Earth, however the kid after calculations concluded that it can hit Earth by a 1 in 450 chance. That was a huge discrepancy from a mere minuscule percentage to a near terrifying 0.22% chance. Not much but a possibility.

Nico Marquardt used telescopic findings from the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam (AIP) to calculate that there was a 1 in 450 chance that the Apophis asteroid will collide with Earth, the Potsdamer Neuerster Nachrichten reported.

The schoolboy took into consideration the risk of Apophis running into one or more of the 40,000 satellites orbiting Earth during its path close to the planet on April 13 2029.

Those satellites travel at 3.07 kilometres a second (1.9 miles), at up to 35,880 kilometres above earth -- and the Apophis asteroid will pass by earth at a distance of 32,500 kilometres.

If the asteroid strikes a satellite in 2029, that will change its trajectory making it hit earth on its next orbit in 2036.

Both NASA and Marquardt agree that if the asteroid does collide with earth, it will create a ball of iron and iridium 320 metres (1049 feet) wide and weighing 200 billion tonnes, which will crash into the Atlantic Ocean.

The shockwaves from that would create huge tsunami waves, destroying both coastlines and inland areas, whilst creating a thick cloud of dust that would darken the skies indefinitely.

The 13-year old made his discovery as part of a regional science competition for which he submitted a project entitled: "Apophis -- The Killer Astroid."

Reference from: German schoolboy, 13, corrects NASA's asteroid figures: paper

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