Apophis, named after the Egyptian deity that personified evil and chaos, is coming. The huge asteroid will fly unusually close to Earth on Friday, but fear not: experts have confirmed that it will remain a safe distance — in fact, millions of miles, away.
According to Space, the asteroid, Apophis, will approach Earth at a distance of 0.11 astronomical units, or about 10 million miles. This distance is considered “close” in astronomical terms but according to EarthSky, there is no chance that Apophis will collide with Earth. However, this won’t be the only time this piece of space junk closes in on our planet.
NASA predicts that Apophis will pass even closer to Earth on April 13, 2029, reaching a proximity akin to the distance that some spacecraft orbit the planet. It is rare for an asteroid this large to pass so close to Earth, though smaller asteroids have been observed at similar distances.
“The Apophis close approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science,” said Marina Brozović, a radar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
According to NASA, current calculations say the chances of Apophis ever impacting Earth in the future are very low — less than 1 in 100,000. Radar images suggest the cosmic object, which measures over 1,000 feet (approximately 300 meters) in length, resembles a peanut due to its elongated, warped shape.
Europe’s Virtual Telescope Project will stream the asteroid flyby on its website beginning at 7 p.m. EST.
Hopefully, the residents of the luxury space hotel estimated to be completed in 2027 will be in a safe orbit when Apophis returns two years later.