Image Compliments of Intergalactic Vault
An asteroid (above) was discovered by astronomers in 2004 that initially had a 2.7% chance of striking the Earth on April 13, 2029. It has a diameter of only 325 meters and but has a velocity of 30 km/s or 67,108 mph and a mass of 40,000,000 tonnes!
For comparison, the asteroid that impacted the Earth 65 million years ago causing the Last Great Extinction had a mass of nearly 1 Trillion tons, moving at a velocity of about 43,000 mph and released about 100 Million megatons.
Therefore an Earth impact from this asteroid would result in a massive release of energy, nothing short of an epic disaster. However, it would not likely cause an extinction level event.
The asteroid was given the name "Apophis" for the Egyptian god of the underworld. (if you're a fan of TV's Stargate SG-1, then you'll recognize that Apophis is one of the alien villains).
After more observations of Apophis, astronomers have calculated that it will come extremely close to Earth in 2029, within 40,000 km. That is within the orbit of Earth satellites and within our atmosphere so we will be able to see it. Nobody knows what affects this will have on the orbit of Apophis.
However, after running more planetary orbital computer models, astronomers determined that if Apophis passed through a small area of space called a "gravitational key hole", only 800 meters wide, in 2029, that it would return and impact the Earth exactly 7 years later in 2036. The chances of this happening are extremely remote.
Maddalena Environmental Inc.