Scientists eager to make most of asteroid’s near miss

An asteroid strike is a disaster; an asteroid flyby, an opportunity.


National News

February 17, 2023 - 5:03 PM

Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientists Lance Benner, Paul Chodas and Mark Haynes are studying the 1,100-foot wide asteroid Apophis, which will come within viewing distance of Earth on April 13, 2029. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

To be clear: The asteroid is not going to hit us.

There was a while there when it seemed like it could. Suffice to say those were heady days in the asteroid-tracking community. But as of March 2021, NASA has confirmed that there is absolutely zero chance the space rock known as 99942 Apophis will strike this planet for at least 100 years. So, phew. Cross that particular doomsday scenario off the list.

What remains true, however, is that on Friday, April 13, 2029, an asteroid wider than three football fields will pass closer to Earth than anything its size has come in recorded history.

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