If the calculations made by NASA is right, an asteroid dubbed 99942 Apophis measuring 340 meters in diameter
will pass within just 19,000 miles of earth's surface. Even though 19,000 miles may seem quite huge per human standards, it is a very short distance in astronomical terms and a slight change in trajectory could bring about catastrophic effects on a global scale.
Shockingly, this asteroid popularly called as 'God of Chaos
', will be closer to earth than communication satellites
during its close flyby. It should be noted that most of the satellites in earth's orbit are orbiting 36,000 miles away from the planet. Initial analysis suggests that the asteroid is currently travelling at a speed of 25,000 miles per hour
, and during its close flyby, it may attain more speed.
As per experts, there are various factors that could increase the chances of the earth being hit by this rogue space body, and one among them is the most crucial gravitational keyhole. Gravitational keyhole is an area in space where space bodies like asteroid get affected by the gravitational pull of nearby planets
. If 99942 Apophis asteroid passes through this keyhole, then there are heavy possibilities that it could hit the earth causing massive devastation
In the meantime, NASA is busy developing a planetary defence weapon to combat this menace from deep space. This planetary defence weapon is basically a spacecraft that NASA intends to hit on approaching space bodies. Experts believe that hitting rogue space bodies using this spacecraft will deflect them from the original collision trajectory, and thus earth can be saved from a doomsday event.
However, several experts believe that NASA's plan to deflect asteroids' trajectory will not work as planned, especially while dealing with giant space bodies. As per these experts
, the only way to save earth from giant asteroids is by nuking them