Scientists watching asteroid's path

May 19, 2006

U.S. scientists are keeping an eye on a 1,000-foot-wide asteroid that could hit Earth 30 years from now with a force to destroy a small state.

NASA scientists have fixed Sunday, April 13, 2036, as the likely date when Apophis could smash into Earth, reports The Chicago Tribune. Such an event could wreak destruction bigger than brought about by Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake combined, says the report.

It says the odds of such a strike are 1-in-6,250, but that's too high in astronomers' parlance. The space agency is spending millions for gauging the threat posed by Apophis and other asteroids.

"Certainly we had a major credibility problem at the beginning -- a giggle factor," David Morrison, a NASA scientist, told the newspaper. "Now, many people are aware this is something we can actually deal with, mitigate and defend against."

The U.S. Congress has asked the space agency to develop options to deflect potential threats that may include use of lasers on the moon and even nuclear weapons, the report said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientist investigates Russian meteor

Mar 08, 2013

Dr Hugh Lewis, Lecturer in Aerospace Engineering, has analysed the recent extraordinary Russian meteor event using the "NEOImpactor" tool, which was developed by researchers from the University and designed to investigate ...

Asteroid deflection mission seeks smashing ideas

Jan 16, 2013

(Phys.org)—A space rock several hundred metres across is heading towards our planet and the last-ditch attempt to avert a disaster – an untested mission to deflect it – fails. This fictional scene of ...

Paintballs may deflect an incoming asteroid (w/ Video)

Oct 26, 2012

In the event that a giant asteroid is headed toward Earth, you'd better hope that it's blindingly white. A pale asteroid would reflect sunlight—and over time, this bouncing of photons off its surface could ...

Impact mitigation

Aug 15, 2011

The save-the-Earth rehearsal mission Don Quijote, commissioned by the European Space Agency, is planned to test the potential of a real life-or-death mission to deflect a mass-extinction-inducing asteroid from a colli ...

Recommended for you

Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

Apr 18, 2014

The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the "habitable" zone of a distant star, though exciting, is still a long way from pointing to the existence of extraterrestrial life, experts said Friday. ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Apr 18, 2014

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Exoplanets soon to gleam in the eye of NESSI

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —The New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument (NESSI) will soon get its first "taste" of exoplanets, helping astronomers decipher their chemical composition. Exoplanets are planets ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Easter morning delivery for space station

Space station astronauts got a special Easter treat: a cargo ship full of supplies. The shipment arrived Sunday morning via the SpaceX company's Dragon cargo capsule.

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.