The wild fear of space experts like Iain McDonald is apparently going to come true, as rogue asteroid Apophis is speeding up towards Earth. Earlier, McDonald had claimed that devastating asteroid hits are not confined to the past, and he had assured that such events could happen in the future too. Now, new observations have suggested that Apophis, also known as the God of Chaos asteroid, is speeding towards the blue planet due to the Yarkovsky effect.
Asteroid Apophis to hit Earth
As the Yarkovsky effect has influenced asteroid Apophis, there could be still a possibility that this space rock could hit earth in 2068. Researchers at the University of Hawaii revealed that some parts of the asteroid are getting heated up due to the Yarkovsky effect.
Before the detection of this effect, scientists had believed that this asteroid will likely zip past the earth in 2068. But now, scientists believe that a possible collision of the asteroid with the earth could not be ruled out.
"The new observations we obtained with the Subaru telescope earlier this year were good enough to reveal the Yarkovsky acceleration of Apophis, and they show that the asteroid is drifting away from a purely gravitational orbit by about 170 meters per year, which is enough to keep the 2068 impact scenario in play," said Dave Tholen, co-author of this study.
Before the 2068 close approach, asteroid Apophis will reach the vicinity of the earth in 2028. In 2028, this 340 meters asteroid will be just 30,000 kilometers away from the earth's surface.
Repercussions of Apophis impact on Earth
Considering the size of this mammoth asteroid, a possible collision will unleash energy equivalent to 880 million tonnes of trinitrotoluene (TNT), and this would make it 65,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima nuclear explosion.
If asteroid Apophis hits planet Earth, it could kill millions of people even before they know what had happened. The collision will also pull earth to a state of nuclear winter, and it will negatively impact the stability of planet earth for several years.