Six years from now, an asteroid will make its way past Earth at the shortest distance ever.
The prediction is made by NASA, which already has a probe in orbit that will closely observe this kind of encounter between the two celestial bodies.
NASA intends to develop a system against potential collisions with Earth
Apophis was discovered in 2004 and, at that time, the asteroid’s trajectory pointed to a potential collision with Earth in 2029. According to the most recent data from NASA, this danger no longer exists, but the organization also wants to avoid potential collisions in the future.
And Apophis’s passage through Earth at the shortest distance ever, around 32,200 kilometers, could help the North American space agency build a defense mechanism.
All because, in 2016, NASA launched a probe into space that, in 2029, will be in a privileged position to monitor and observe the meeting between the two celestial giants.
The mission of the Osiris-Rex probe is to follow the trajectory of the asteroid and collect as much information as possible to later develop a defense shield that protects planet Earth from potential collisions with other large celestial bodies.
Asteroid Apophis will be visible in Europe
Meanwhile, the Planetary Science Journal published a detailed description of the asteroid Apophis. With a shape similar to a peanut, the asteroid is rocky and has a diameter of 340 meters.
Scientists predict that on April 13, 2029, it will pass Earth at a distance of 31,860 kilometers. It will only be visible to the naked eye for a few hours and will appear as a point of reflected sunlight in the night sky over the African and European continents.
It is estimated that the close passage of an asteroid of this size by Earth happens once every 7,500 years and in April 2029 we will have this unique event.