It was long back in 2004 that scientists discovered asteroid Apophis, a rogue space body that screeches across space in mindblowing speed. Initial analysis of the asteroid's trajectory suggested that this space rock could hit the earth either in 2029 or 2036 during its close flyby. However, further studies ruled out the possibilities of a probable collision in 2029 and 2036, but ten more possible impact dates remain.
Probable collision dates are between 2060 and 2103
These probable collision dates are between 2060 and 2013. Scientists believe that there are possibilities of this asteroid hitting the planet on April 12, 2060, followed by close approaches on April 11, 2065, April 12, 2068, October 10, 2068, April 13, 2076, April 13, 2077, April 13, 2078, October 10, 2089, April 13, 2091, and April 14, 2103.
During these days, the asteroid is expected to fly very close to the earth at a speed of 21,060 kilometers per hour, and even a small change in its trajectory could result in a possible impact on the earth's surface, or a very powerful mid-air explosion.
Unimaginable Impact of mid-air explosion
As per the analysis conducted by NASA, asteroid Apophis' force of impact on the earth would be equal to 1,200,000 kilotons. It should be noted that the nuclear bomb that was dropped in Hiroshima in 1945 detonated with a force of nearly 15 kilotons, and this single factor indicates the threat posed by asteroid Apophis to the earth.
Even though the chances of impact on these dates are pretty less, NASA has already started its preparations to combat a possible collision that could result in a doomsday scenario. The space agency along with ESA and private space agencies like SpaceX is developing a planetary defense weapon aimed at changing the trajectory of approaching asteroids.
NASA weighing to nuke these asteroids
However, certain space scientists believe that nuking the asteroids could be the best option to avoid doomsday scenarios, especially if rogue space bodies get detected in the last moment. But skeptics believe that using nuclear weapons to destroy rogue space bodies could result in radioactive rain which will negatively impact living beings on the earth.