Upon further review, a big scary-sounding asteroid is no longer even a remote threat to smash into Earth in about 20 years, NASA says.
Astronomers got a much better look at the asteroid when it whizzed by Earth on Wednesday from a relative safe 9 million miles away. They recalculated the space rock’s trajectory and determined it wasn’t on a path to hit Earth on April 13, 2036 as once feared possible.
At more than 323 meters wide, the rock called Apophis could do significant damage to a local area if it hit and perhaps even cause a tsunami.
NASA officials said now the asteroid, named after an evil Egyptian mythical serpent, won’t get closer than 31,200 kilometers. That’s still the closest approach asteroid watchers have seen for a rock this large.
If you still want to see a space rock come cosmically close to Earth, there’s always next month. On Feb. 15, a small asteroid, only 130-feet (40-meters) wide, will come close to Earth, about 17,000 miles (27,350 kilometers) above the equator. That’s so close it will come between our planet and some of the more distant satellites that circle the globe. But it will miss Earth.
That asteroid, called 2012 DA14, should be visible with smaller telescopes and binoculars, but mostly in Eastern Europe, Asia and Australia, he said.AP