A massive asteroid will pass by Earth in 2029, and the announcement has led to heated debates on social media.
Named Apophis, after the Egyptian God of Chaos, the rock is larger than the Eiffel Tower. It will come quite close to Earth, within a distance of approximately 19,000 miles (or 31,000 kilometers) between Earth and the object. According to data released by NASA, the chance of impact is really small, one in 100,000 for several decades.
The small distance between the Earth and the asteroid could cause minor effects, including some avalanches. Scared users have started heated debates on several platforms as they fear that a major collision could take place. Some stated that mere knowledge about the event is already stressing them.
Others underlined the fact that space agencies and governments should focus more on developing a global system which could counter such threats in an efficient manner. Elon Musk, the owner of SpaceX, was also bombarded by messages as people tried to offer a suggestion which could be used to destroy the asteroid before it comes close to Earth.
NASA and other space agencies are already hard at work on the development of several methods which could be used to prevent a possible impact between Earth and potentially dangerous objects.
Many researchers have declared in the past that the methods which are seen in movies won’t work in the case of a real threat, or that the results could be unreliable. The best solution is currently in the early stages of design, and a test will take place in a few years.
Instead of destroying the asteroid with a powerful weapon an impactor spacecraft will be used to divert it towards a harmless trajectory, as far away from our planet as possible. The upcoming DART mission will start on July 22, 2021 when a launch window will begin, and it will allow researchers to examine the efficiency of the solution.