A cataclysm of enormous measure will face the world on April 13, 2036. That is if you believe in scientists and gravitational keyholes. The head of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program, Donald Yeomans, says the collision does not have a good chance of happening. He has been studying an asteroid named Apophis, which will travel very close to the Earth in the year 2029 (within five earth radii).
If, at that time it slips into a gravitational keyhole, then the collision will have very good odds of happening. This keyhole is a path that causes great gravitational pull from the earth. That gravitational pull could draw Apophis into a collision course with Earth seven years later.
A doomsday asteroid is heading our way
Although Yeomans’ feelings about this asteroid are more optimistic, Russian scientists take a whole different view. They believe that Apophis and Earth will collide in 25 years. Professor Leonid Sokolov of the St Petersburg State University affirms that the asteroid will come as close as 37,000 – 38,000 kilometers from the Earth in 2029, and it is very likely to hit the Earth in 2036.
Fourteen months ago the Russian scientists held a meeting to discuss what to launch that will hit this 300 yard wide asteroid to set it off course. American scientists still insist that the likelihood of this massive rock hitting the Earth is one in 250,000. They even go on to say that if it did hit the Earth, because of its size it would not do much harm.
NASA scientists have been working on plans for this kind of scenario. Last August an asteroid came 34,000 miles from the Earth’s surface, so there is an awareness of the threat. In 2005, NASA intentionally shot its Deep Impact Probe into a comet just to see what space rocks looked like inside. They will be prepared for this science fiction drama to play out.