- The Apophis asteroid, also called the “God of Chaos,” is expected to fly by Earth in April of 2029. But it is also projected to come closer than any asteroid in recorded history which has caused NASA to launch a mission studying the asteroid.
- According to NASA, Apophis is expected to come as close as 20,000 miles to Earth on April 13, 2029. It noted this is “closer than some satellites, and close enough that it could be visible to the naked eye in the Eastern Hemisphere.”
- It is approximately 367 yards, and coming so close to Earth it may change the asteroid’s surface, potentially causing landslides and quakes.
- The newly named OSIRUS-APEX mission will utilize the OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft… for this new mission due to the spacecraft’s good condition and the opportunity presented by the close encounter.
- OSIRUS-REx finished a 4-billion-mile mission to collect samples of asteroid Bennu in September.
- “OSIRIS-APEX will study Apophis immediately after such a pass, allowing us to see how its surface changes by interacting with Earth’s gravity.”
- “We know that tidal forces and the accumulation of rubble pile material are foundational processes that could play a role in planet formation. They could inform how we got from debris in the early solar system to full-blown planets,” she added.
- OSIRIS-APEX’s research will also involve planetary defense strategies to aid scientists in working toward effective methods of combating or preventing catastrophic asteroid collisions with Earth.
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