Technology

Huge asteroid that will be ‘visible to the naked eye’ to rise near Earth and Nasa is racing to study ‘potentially dangerous’ space rock

NASA is sending a spacecraft to study a massive asteroid that will come frighteningly close to Earth in less than seven years.

The rock’s colossal size and proximity will make it visible to the naked eye for billions on April 13, 2029.

Artist's impression of the spacecraft reaching the asteroid Apophis

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Artist’s impression of the spacecraft reaching the asteroid ApophisPhoto credit: Heather Roper

Apophis, as it is known, is officially classified as “potentially dangerous” because it is only 20,000 miles from Earth.

Experts initially thought the asteroid could endanger our planet.

Fortunately, further analysis shows it won’t hit us, but will come as close as some of our satellites.

That doesn’t mean scientists aren’t interested in learning more about the rock.

So Nasa will send a spaceship and collect samples for studies.

The probe in question is actually already in space.

OSIRIS-REx is currently on its way back to Earth with samples from another asteroid.

According to new plans, the spacecraft will arrive on September 24, 2023 with bits of the Bennu asteroid.

Then it will embark on a second mission to Apophis.

“Apophis is one of the most notorious asteroids,” said Dani DellaGiustina, lead investigator.

“When it was first discovered in 2004, there were concerns that it would hit Earth on its close approach in 2029.

“This risk has been withdrawn after subsequent observations, but it will be the closest that an asteroid of this size has come in the 50 or so years that asteroids have been closely tracked, or in the next 100 years from asteroids that we have detected so far.” is.

“During the 2029 encounter, it will approach a tenth of the distance between Earth and the moon.

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“People in Europe and Africa will be able to see it with the naked eye, that’s how close it will come.

“We were thrilled to find out the mission had been extended.”

Apophis is about 450 meters wide and 170 meters high

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Apophis is about 450 meters wide and 170 meters highCredit: The Planetary Society
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8724573/apophis-asteroid-nasa-probe-osiris-rex/ Huge asteroid that will be ‘visible to the naked eye’ to rise near Earth and Nasa is racing to study ‘potentially dangerous’ space rock

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