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Apophis is coming ?/! December 2, 2006

Posted by theoxymoron in Interesting Reads.

copyright dpa Apophis is a 25-million-ton, 820 ft. wide asteroid which may or may not (that would be the worst case) pass the earth. That’s exactly the question we have to ask.

According to an article from David Noland in Popular Mechanics scientists calculated that if Apophis passes at a distance of exactly 18’893 miles it will go through a “gravitational keyhole”. If so Earth’s gravity will perturb the asteroid in the wrong way, causing a potential catastrophic impact precisely seven years later on April 13, 2036. The chances are 45’000:1 that it will go through that keyhole.

So what should we do about things with low-probability but extreme high-consequence risks? Should we say, ” Why bother, it’s not really going to happen” or are the consequences that serious that even a tiny risk is unacceptable ?

A fact is, that the consequences would be very serious. If Apophis hits water then it creates a 5-mile-wide, 9000 ft deep crater in the water. The collapse of that water crater would trigger tsunamis that would hit California with an hour-long fusillade of 50 ft. waves.

There are currently 5 ways to change the track of the asteroid.

  1. Bump it: a 1-ton kinetic energy impact
  2. Thrust it: a ion-drive rocket engine builds thrust over a few weeks on the asteroid
  3. Tug it:Gravity tractor
  4. Blast it: thermonuclear bomb placed inside Apophis
  5. Nuke it: nuclear explosion just above the surface

Learned also about the never heard “Yarkovsky Effect” that could also change the course of an asteroid just because of the radiation of the hotter surface which is exposed more to the sun.



1. Jemma - January 9, 2007

im doing my current events science homework and this topic was assigned to me and i need to know who was the person to discover that apophis was coming towards earth

2. theoxymoron - January 9, 2007

you can find the information in this article in the “Discovery” section :

3. Benoni Haran - June 12, 2011

The Coming of ApophisApril 13, 1036
The year is 2021, and the asteroid “Apophis” is on a collision course with Earth. Four unlikely heroes – Israelite brothers who own and operate the Honeymoon Hotel in what was formerly known as Assyria – may be the world’s only hope to deter this catastrophe. But is Apophis simply an asteroid – or an angel with the keys to hell?
From the end of the holy war to the coming of Apophis, the dead bones of the tribe of Israel come together, renewing the Garden of Eden, and prepare for the Coming… Please read ‘The Coming of Apophis by Ben Haran. Order at amazon.com.

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