A million miles here, a million miles there

We are all doomed…..maybe in 2036.

Since Apophis was discovered in 2004, asteroid-watchers have known that it has a slim chance of hitting Earth in 2036. At 270 metres wide, it is too small to rival the object that wiped out the dinosaurs, but it could cause devastating tsunamis were it to hit the ocean. Worrying as this is, we have been able to take comfort in the computed probability of impact, which is just 1 in 45,000. Coyote.JPG

Now it seems the true risk is unclear, thanks to minute effects that the calculations didn’t take into account. “You really can’t estimate the …

Unfortunately the rest of the New Scientist article is available only if one wants to pay to be a subscriber. Michael Reilly writes

Then scientists crunched some numbers, and the odds of a terrestrial bullseye dropped to 1 in 45,000, where they stand today. Sort of. It turns out that there are a few things we still don’t know about the orbit of Apophis, which could change its projected course by millions of miles, according to an article yesterday in New Scientist. Are we going to get slammed by the 270-meter long hunk of rock? We probably won’t know for sure until we get a closer look at its close-ish Earth flyby in 2013.

We already know that Apophis is due for a close pass by Earth in 2029, and if things go just right (or wrong), April 13, 2036 could be a very bad day for us.

While I’ll be 75 in 2036(If I live past this or next year, it may be a miracle. Today I get very bad news on the cancer battle front that I’m fighting. My tumors are back, bigger and more numerous. This after months of chemo and radiation.), and have no living children, I do hope mankind avoids the calamnity of a asteroid strike.

Hat tip- Alex Knapp at OTB who writes– “There’s no need to panic just yet, but this frustrating lack of information does provide more evidence that we really do need to steer some more funding and work into the asteroid detection/deflection area.”

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