If you thought 2020 is bad, wait for the year 2068 when a huge asteroid could potentially wipe all of humanity! Yes, astronomers have revealed that an asteroid named ‘Apophis’ is expected to pass extremely close or may hit the Earth in 2068 due to a phenomenon called Yarkovsky effect. Interestingly, the asteroid is named after The Egyptian god of Chaos and Evil.
Researchers at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA) have announced the detection of Yarkovsky acceleration on the near-Earth asteroid Apophis. This acceleration arises from an extremely weak force on an object due to non-uniform thermal radiation.
Discovered in 2004, asteroid Apophis is a 1,120-foot-wide (340-meter-wide) asteroid, about the size of three-and-a-half football fields, NASA said.
Earlier, it was believed that the asteroid would pass by leaving the earth unscathed, but astronomers are no longer certain now. The detection of the Yarkovsky effect acting on Apophis means that the 2068 impact scenario is still a possibility.
This force is particularly important for the asteroid Apophis, as it affects the probability of an Earth impact in 2068, the astronomers said.
“All asteroids need to reradiate as heat the energy they absorb from sunlight in order to maintain thermal equilibrium, a process that slightly changes the orbit of the asteroid,” they wrote.
Apophis is noteworthy because of its extremely close approach to the Earth on April 13, 2029, when the 300 metre-sized asteroid will become visible to the unaided eye as it passes within the belt of communications satellites orbiting the Earth.
Earlier, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had also predicted that huge asteroid Apophis will eventually hit humanity and there will be no way out.