Apophis asteroid to pass close to Earth today

If you’re a fan of asteroids, then the name 99942 Apophis will likely mean something to you. It’s an 885-foot-wide asteroid assumed to weigh around 2,727kg 2.7 x 1010kg. When it was discovered […]

If you’re a fan of asteroids, then the name 99942 Apophis will likely mean something to you. It’s an 885-foot-wide asteroid assumed to weigh around 2,727kg 2.7 x 1010kg. When it was discovered […]

Asteroid Apophis To Strike Earth?

Asteroid Apophis To Strike Earth?
A 270 million ton asteroid called Apophis could make quite a dent in the Earth when if comes for a visit on April 13, 2036. Though it is not quite the apocalyptic event that some are portraying, it potentially could be a tad ugly, with the potential to kill millions and cause chaos across the world. Read more…
Read more on GreenMuze

Don Yeomans with the truth about close-passing asteroid Apophis
Asteroid Apophis is back in the news. But it’s still not likely to hit Earth in 2036, says Don Yeomans of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program.
Read more on EarthSky

Do Christians Need to Prepare for the Asteroid Apophis in 2029?

Do Christians Need to Prepare for the Asteroid Apophis in 2029?

Currently some scientists are very aware of the asteroid Apophis (sometimes spelled as Apofiz) 99942 will be possibly getting very close to earth in the year 2029. Projections show there should not be a collision with earth but it could come within 20,000 miles of its surface. At that distance it would be passing into what is known as the Clarks Belt and could possibly damage existing satellites used for communication, military, and entertainment purposes.

Luckily the odds are calculated at 1 in 45,000 chances there will be a collision in the year 2029. Though this is comforting news the future possibly holds something much more severe. Some people in the community of asteroid studies including some well known researchers feel that earths’ gravitational influence in this close encounter to Apophis will possibly cause it actually to collide with earth 7 years later in the year 2036.

People are already wondering if this could be the asteroid or planet mentioned in the book of Revelation called Wormwood. According to the description of Wormwood (referred to by some as Planet-X) in the Bible it does not appear to be an asteroid such as Apophis. It points more towards it being the composition of a star like a large ball of fire.

Looking at the evidence currently available it does not appear that Apophis (sometimes spelled Apofiz) asteroid fits into the timeline according to the Bible. Earth’s encounter with Wormwood is supposed to take place in the middle of the 70th week on a Sabbath year cycle. Considering that a Sabbath year cycle has seven years in it one can do the math based upon the first recorded Sabbath year and see that the year 2029 does not fit into the equation.

From what the Bible says, Wormwood will cause havoc long before 2029. It appears that the Great Tribulation, the Rapture, and the Second Advent and Millennium will all take place before this time. This opinion is open to debate by many Christians and other religious groups throughout the world.

Currently the world is being exposed to a possible doomsday in the foreseeable future more than ever. The increase in scientific study of space has brought a public awareness about that something could go wrong in the future. The earth could be struck by an asteroid similar to Apophis as mentioned recently on CNN causing mass devastation and even knocking the earth into a different orbital path around the sun. This type of disaster would cause problems that are impossible to forecast.

The media shows the public that we should be aware that something like this can take place. Amateurs and professionals alike compare notes with the use of the Internet allowing for large networks of people to build a more solid look into what the future may hold for mankind.

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Observing Objects That Can Impact The Earth – How Good Is Europe In Observing Potential Threats?

Observing Objects That Can Impact The Earth – How Good Is Europe In Observing Potential Threats?

NASA has their Near-Earth Object Program were they follow 918 potential dangerous asteroids.

Their astronomers observes space objects that are more than one kilometer in diameter and has a probability to become proximal to earth within the next 10 years to come at any given time.

They also keep a track on smaller objects and asteroids that can become a danger in a longer time perspective than 10 years.

Recent observations has lead to calculations that the asteroid Apophis will hit the earth in the period of 2036-2037 has a probability of 0.00002 percent

The newly discovered asteroid called 2007 VK184 will pass the earth in the period of years 2048 to 2057, and has a probability to hit the earth of 0.0003 percent and has a projected path that is four times closer than the Apophis asteroid. VK184 has a diameter of approximately 130 meters and will make a major impact if it hits the earth, but will most likely not make global threat. An impact of an asteroid with a diameter of more than 1 kilometer will make a global danger.

The European ministers for space met in Netherlands in November 2008 and agreed upon to make a European warning system. The long term plans were discussed at this meeting and an exensive program was conluded upon. Details about this program can be seen at ;


The Ministers in charge of space activities within the now 18 ESA Member States and Canada  agreed upon a space program called ESA PR 44-2008 in The Hague in the Netherlands on 25 and 26 November 2008. This endorse the implementation of the European Space Policy, and sat out the start of future programs and made decisions on the next phases of on-going programs.

Point 2 in the European Space program is called the Meeting of Europe’s security needs, which outlines some activities related to near earth object observation.
The Space Council highlighted the essential need to develop increased synergies with the security and defense sector and to intensify the dialogue with the relevant institutional actors (the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council, the European Defense Agency, ESA and Member States) and incorporate appropriate programmatic activities.

The objective of the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) initiative is to contribute to the protection of European space systems, in particular those related to operational services, against space debris and solar flares (space weather). This will help guarantee the availability of such services by providing timely and quality information on the space environment, threats and the sustainable exploitation of outer space surrounding Earth.

The program proposal will consist of one core element covering governance, data policy, data security, architecture and space surveillance, and three additional optional elements: space weather (monitoring and forecasting effects of radiation, ionospheric perturbation, geomagnetic disturbances and currents induced in large pipeline networks, for instance) and Near Earth Objects surveillance; bread-boarding of radar components in close coordination with the General Support Technology Program (GSTP), see below; and pilot data centers.

However, this program is not specific on near earth object observation, and does not give any clear mandate in this respect either.

Why is it imperative that Europe launches an initiative regarding observation of near earth objects? Is it not enough that USA and NASA observes these things and reports to the rest of the world?
As stated in European space program outlined above, it is a matter of defense security and operational security as well. In addition it is a matter of response time and priorities. What is important to USA, may not be important to Europe and visa versa.

The fact is that on average, once every 1000 years an asteroid of at least 50 meters in size collides with the Earth, causing local devastation or producing tidal waves. Therefore there is a need to assess the risks for any part of society in Europe will be affected and are exposed to a risk of any near earth objects, whether its space debris or asteroids. As seen recently, the collision of two satellites in space creates a discussion whether the debris from this crash will have impact on other installations in orbit around the earth, and will some debris fall down and make impact with earth. In this latter case, will it expose any urban areas for risks, and what type of risks are we talking about?

The matter is, that some debris is bound for Europe and we need an observation and warning system to prepare ourselves for any potential impacts of space debris or objects from space.

 A first step to put near earth object observation on the agenda in Europe is a call for a Planetary Defense Conference, with a strong focus on student participation, which will be held in Europe for the first time during the week of April 27, 2009 in Granada, Spain.  This 1st IAA Planetary Defense Conference: Protecting Earth from Asteroids will bring together worldwide experts to discuss various topics such as;

Detecting and tracking asteroids and comets that might be hazardous to our planet, Characteristics of these objects, Deflecting a threatening object should one be detected, The nature of impact disasters, and  Political, legal and policy issues that must be considered as part of an overall mitigation strategy.

A particular focus will be on Apophis, a 300-meter asteroid that is predicted to pass within 40,000 km of Earth in 2029 and has a current probability of impacting our planet in 2036 of 1 in 45000.

It will be interesting to see what will be presented at

Apophis In The News Again – Russians Still Talking About Deflection

The Russians are at it again – talking deflection that is. The Russian News Agency Ria Novosti reported last week that “Russian Astronomers Predict Apophis-Earth Collision in 2036.” Although on further reading they are not really saying that Apophis will impact earth on April 13th 2036. Russian astronomer Professor Leonid Sokolo informs us

the chance of a collision on Easter Sunday in 2036 was extremely slim, predicting that the asteroid would likely disintegrate into smaller parts and smaller collisions with Earth could occur in the following years

So should we be worried (those of us who will still be around then)? Apparently not, as it is looking unlikely that Apophis will come anywhere near hitting us. But it makes great headlines so be prepared for more and more sensationalist news over the years and especially after the end of the Mayan Calendar in December 2012 when the doomsday merchants will have to find another target.

Solar Sail Spacecraft could change course of Apophis

The news that Solar Sail Spacecraft could be used to change the course of Apophis was reported last week:

A flotilla of solar sail spacecraft could change the course of the asteroid Apophis which is headed a little too close to Earth for comfort by shading the space rock from solar radiation, according to a French researcher.

Such a plan could help shift Apophis into a slightly safer orbit by the time it is expected to swing by Earth on April 13, 2036. But experts have warned previously that any efforts to divert the space rock could actually make matters worse.

The preliminary concept idea was proposed at a symposium on solar sails which are spacecraft powered by sunlight pushing against a sail a few months ago at the New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.

“Apophis is a nice target for launching this kind of mission for 20 years from now; not too far, not too close,” said Jean-Yves Prado, an engineer at the National Center for Space Study (CNES) in France.

How to move a space rock
A group of formation-flying solar sails could alter the asteroid’s course by eliminating the so-called Yarkovsky effect, a phenomenon described by Russian engineer I.O. Yarkovsky a century ago.

That effect occurs when the sun warms an asteroid more on the sun-facing side than the far side. The rock then emits more thermal radiation on its near side, which creates a bit of thrust and changes its momentum slightly.

“It’s really a very small effect and doesn’t apply to very small asteroids because the temperature would be quite negligible, so thrust is negligible,” Prado explained. “It also does not apply to very large asteroids because they are too heavy.”

But for Apophis, which falls just in the middle of that mass range, the effect could make a difference.

The proposed mission would deploy four 441-pound solar sails from a transfer module that used solar electric propulsion to reach Apophis. Previous spacecraft that have used solar electric propulsion include NASA’s Deep Space 1 and Dawn probes.

Once deployed, the solar sails would hover a few kilometers above the space rock and fly in formation according to master control by the transfer module, without a direct link between Earth and the individual sails.

The module could also position itself as a small gravity tractor to provide a small gravitational push on Apophis, Prado suggested.

Practical concerns arise
A previous NASA assessment of possible asteroid deflection methods had placed solar sails relatively high in terms of readily available and not-too-complex technology.

Launch windows would become available for such a mission to launch aboard a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket in 2016 and 2019, Prado said. He added that a second redundant mission could also launch to ensure success.

Several other solar sail researchers at the symposium raised questions about the mission design. One questioned the need for a chemical propulsion system on each solar sail that would balance out the solar pressure and keep the sails flying in their proper place.

Prado replied that his group had examined the possibility of using solar electric propulsion to also maintain low thrust and keep the solar sails in place, but had ruled it out based on cost.

Another researcher suggested that simply crashing four spacecraft with the mass of the solar sails into Apophis might be simpler.

The long view
An earlier, unrelated Russian proposal to nudge the space rock aside has been met with skepticism, in part because any solution might worsen Earth’s chances, given the uncertainty regarding Apophis’ exact trajectory.

NASA scientists previously pegged the possibility of an Apophis collision with Earth at a low 1-in-250,000 chance in 2036, when Apophis is expected to approach within 18,300 miles of the planet in 2036.

The asteroid’s second near pass by Earth comes in 2068, when it has a three-in-a-million chance (or about 1-in-333,000) of impacting on the planet.

Whether or not solar sails prove instrumental in protecting Earth from asteroids, proponents of the technology are excited about the progress they’ve made.

In July 2010, Japan’s Ikaros spacecraft became the first vehicle to have deployed a solar sail and successfully rode the sunlight in deep space. Another effort by Britain called CubeSail, slated to launch next year, will use a solar sail as an atmospheric brake and will possibly be used to take down pieces of space junk.

So maybe there is hope for us all yet!

A brief history of End of the World Predictions

Should you be worried about the “end of the world” which is supposed to happen at the end of the Mayan Calendar in December 2012? If you were born before 2000 you have already survived an “end of the world” scenario.

The human race has survived quite a few of these events and the world is still turning. The prophecies of the world ending are as old as time itself. It is understandable that people believed these prophecies in ancient times when their understanding of how the world works was negligable. But have we moved on from those ancient beliefs? Even though we know so much more about science now it seems that a lot people still believe in these ancient prophets. One of the early belief was that the world would end in 1000 AD and legend has it the Pope Sylvester ll feared the coming of the new millennium would bring the end of the world. But as we know now – that didn´t happen.

Nor did it happen in 1881 which was a date predicted by Mother Shipton. Following that, 1991 was supposed to see the end of the world, which we survived again. Then 2000 caused a lot of hysteria with people believing that all computers would stop working, planes would fall from the sky and civilisation as we know it would cease to exist.

So it doesn´t bode well for the December 22, 2012 prediction. If we survived all those other “end of the world” scanarios aren´t we surly going to survive the end of the Mayan Calendar? And on December 23, 2012 we will all be looking forward to April 13th 2036 when the Apophis Asteroid, on it´s second pass by earth, will supposedly come crashing into our planet, causing the End of The World.