Representative image (NASA)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is preparing for a massive asteroid nicknamed ‘God of Chaos’, 370m-wide, which will hurtle close to the earth’s surface, according to reports. The 99942 Apophis asteroid will pass under communication and weather satellites in orbit, travelling at almost 25,000 mph when it rockets past the earth.
The Apophis God of Chaos asteroid, which is named after the Ancient Egyptian god of evil, darkness and destruction, is bigger than the Shard in London and its impact could have major consequences. If the 27bn kg asteroid were to hit Earth, scientists calculate it would leave a crater more than a mile wide and a staggering 518 metres deep, Express reported.
It added that the 370-metre-wide asteroid is potentially on a collision course with Earth – and the NASA is unable to completely rule out a strike. The impact would be equivalent to 880 million tons of TNT being detonated – 65,000 times as powerful as the nuclear bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.
Upon impact, the video from YouTube account Space Sim shows Apophis creating a devastating fireball, and a huge shockwave, Express added.
“In this simulation the asteroid first hits and then sends fragments from the collision back into space which orbited the Earth for a short period of time before coming back to Earth,” a description of the video said.
And if it hits the ocean, the asteroid would likely cause tsunamis.
Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, has already warned that a massive asteroid will hit Earth and space agencies will not be able to do anything about it.
“Great name! Wouldn’t worry about this particular one, but a big rock will hit Earth eventually & we currently have no defense,” Musk tweeted while responding to a news on the NASA is preparing for the ‘colossal God of Chaos’ asteroid.
On Saturday, in a series of tweets, Elon Musk unveiled two T-shirts that have the slogan ‘Nuke Mars’ on them. As if that wasn’t enough, the tech mogul literally flirted with Mars, tagging an account posing as the red planet!
The NASA has already begun preparations for the arrival of asteroid 99942 Apophis which will skim past the earth in 10 years. The asteroid measures 340 meters across and will pass within just 19,000 miles of Earth’s surface. Apophis is one of the largest asteroids to pass so close to the Earth’s surface and a collision with the planet has the potential to be devastating for all life on Earth, reported Cape Business News.
It is being considered a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA), reported Daily Star, adding that any variation of its path could have catastrophic consequences. Although experts said the chances are extremely low.
“We already know that the close encounter with Earth will change Apophis’ orbit. But our models also show the close approach could change the way this asteroid spins and it is possible that there will be some surfaces changes, like small avalanches,” Daily Star quoted astronomer Davide Farnocchia as saying.