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Scientists: Apophis could destroy Earth in 2036

Thursday - February 10, 2011
Category: GENERAL | Tags:

The former Goa’uld System Lord defeated time and again by SG-1 may be coming back for revenge in 2036.  Not the actual System Lord, of course, but the asteroid named for the fictional character Apophis (by the Stargate fan who discovered it).

There were headlines in 2009 that the asteroid could strike the Earth in 2029 (a greater than 2 percent chance), which scientists have largely discounted after further study.  This week Russian scientists at St. Petersburg State University suggest that the asteroid could strike our world in 2036 — April 13, to be exact — if it passes through a tiny “keyhole” area of space that would gravitationally alter its trajectory.

NASA scientists, however, remain cautiously skeptical. “Technically, they’re correct, there is a chance in 2036 [that Apophis will hit Earth],” Donald Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, told Life’s Little Mysteries.  But that chance is just 1 in 250,000.

Peter Williams as Apophis on Stargate SG-1

“The situation is that in 2029, April 13, [Apophis] flies very close to the Earth, within five Earth radii,” Yeomans said. “So that will be quite an event, but we’ve already ruled out the possibility of it hitting at that time.  On the other hand, if it goes through what we call a keyhole during that close Earth approach … then it will indeed be perturbed just right so that it will come back and smack Earth on April 13, 2036.”

Apophis is currently a bit larger than two football fields, but may break up into smaller pieces that would pose less of a threat.

The asteroid will make a relatively close pass by Earth in late 2012 and early 2013, which will allow astronomers to observe it more closely and fine-tune their predictions.

Darren created GateWorld in 1999, and today is the owner and managing editor. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three children.

COMMENTS (49):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • And here I thought I had to go to CNN to get sensationalist headlines about stuff that’s not going to happen.

  • haha nice…. where do you guys find these awesome stories? seriously, i always wait for the next bit of news to come from gateworld regardless if it is SG related or not… Always something interesting

  • The asteroid Apophis is nowhere near the size it needs to be to affect life on a global scale. It’s closer in size to the one that exploded over Sibiria early last century.

  • Why are we so unbelievable infatuated with theories of our own demise?

    Y2k, LHC, 2012, the zombie thing that’s supposed to happen tonight, and now this?

    This is ridiculous.

  • @tealcvala haha, good one!

    OMG can’t believe a Stargate fan found the asteroid!! If I found it, I probably would’ve named it after a system lord aswell, except I probably would have called it Anubis…. :P
    Love these sorts of stories!!

  • If I find an asteroid, I’m naming it “O’Neill”, the next “Anubis” and the third “Michael”, fourth “Thor” and the fifth “Fifth”. Low chance of happening though.

  • I believe I saw a you tube video with Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining why this asteroid would miss us the first time, but could come around to smack us the 2nd time.

  • Didn’t Anubis already attempt to wipe us out with an asteroid, lol?
    (SG1, Fail Safe, 5×17)

  • Maybe if it misses us the 2nd time as well,it hits us on the next round.And there I thought for the n-th time Apophis was dead!They’ve been trying to kill him since 97′ and he just won’t die!

  • Apophis just can’t keep from crashing into planets. First Delmak and now Earth.

  • I look at it this way. Hundreds of Millions if not Billions of rocks have this this planet since it was created, Humans have survived every major impact (in one form or an other) since this planets creation as well. If this one hits, then so be it. There is nothing we can do to stop it. If it doesn’t then so be it again. I look at it this way. Why worry, so you may have some big ass fireworks. Keep living, keep paying your bills and keep loving your family.
    However if I get a chance to name a Asteroid I am either going to name it Thor’s Hammer or Baal. Why Baal? he never got enough attention in the show. So that is homage to my favorite Goauld.

  • @ Jim Hutto Humanity haven’t survived any major impacts, because the last really big one hit Earth about 66 (not 65) million years ago. Also, by 2036 I think we should be able to stop a small asteroid like Apophis.

  • @Jim Hutto: There hasn’t been major impacts causing noticeable global effect in the human period. This asteroid is only about 400 meters long, so it’s minor compared to past meteors. It’s not the end of the world, and frankly there are bigger threats on Earth before it’s even ready to hit our planet.

  • i would just like to point out that this is really old news as in 2009 news they new then that it could potentially hit us in 2036 and also even if it did hit the things about the size of 2 football pitches so after it hits the atmosphere and starts to burn up its only going to be half that size by the time it actually hits the surface so whats with the ridiculous header for the page. Scientists: Apophis could destroy Earth in 2036, what a bunch of crap darren u do have some great stories on ere but u needed to put a bit more research into this 1 before posting it.

  • Darren Sumner

    Gary, if you’ll read the story you’ll see the difference between this week’s brand new story (from St. Petersburg State University) and the 2009 version of the same story. You may not think it’s any different, and you may not think it’s worth typing up for GW. In that case, you’re welcome to pass on by.

  • All NASA needs to do is send up Bruce Willis with an oil drilling team and 2 mobile drills, one of which will be destroyed by a fat guy not following orders, lol.

  • @Gary The very name Apophis and the possibillty of it hitting Earth is a cool news to be posted here.And if an object 200 meters wide hit let’s say New York at a speed of 20-50000 mph,New York would be no more,which means casulties in millions.Although,no it would not have a global effect.
    Also what’s been said to Jim Hutto is true,no major impacts in these couple hundred thousand years period that humans have been arround.
    And I agree with @JauhO..we should be able to destroy the object of that size before it hits the Earth.The ones that pose real danger are in range of at least over a mile to 10 miles in size,but there are considerable larger dangers right here on Earth,much of them caused by ourselves!

  • @Billz Naah,all you need is a Goua’uld Alkesh to land on the asteroid,engage the hyperdrive,form a hyperspace bubble around it and go through Earth!

  • I was doing voiceover translation into Russian. Because the Russian TV companies might do it next year. And fans of the show, want to watch it now. I must say that its creators, either personally know a lot or they have a very serious consultants. Skepticism is certainly useful, but we should be objective. Until now, all that was once science fiction has become reality. I see no reason to change.

  • has anyone checked to see if there’s any naquadah on it?? (the asteroid in the illastration looks a bit bigger than 2 football pitches)

  • Vain irony. Uranium and plutonium, is something that is on earth. Who said that nothing else is there? For example there are nuclear reactors without radiation. I am sure that the information you find on the web. And yes, accidents do not happen, and this includes the asteroid Apophis.

  • @flickshtain First off,that what you call irony is in fact sarcasm.Common mistake,no problem there.But I’m not sure what you mean by accidents don’t happen? Because,yes they do..and secondly,are you suggesting that this asteroid coming in a trajectory close to Earth is not an accident,that someone sent it..ha,ha,ha?Because,if that’s the case..oh,man,the asteroid is the least of your worries!

  • Of course it did not send by anybody. But his trajectory is a result of events that are subject to the laws of physics and space dynamics. Therefore, we are not talking about the accident. Although from our point of view, so it seems.
    Seems that my main problem is people with limited way of thinking.

  • @flickshtain – Actually, we are talking about what would be an accident, in interstellar terms. The ’cause’ of the event is unapparent and it’s unlikely that there’s any intent behind it. Just like if someone drives their car into yours. Obviously there was a sequence of events that lead to the effect but because you don’t know what they all are at the time and there was likely no direct intent to cause the effect, it’s an ‘accident’. So yes, accidents do happen even if there is a cause for all effects because the definition doesn’t rely on there not being one.

    And, for the record, there are no nuclear reactors without radiation. You can’t have a ‘reaction’ without radiation and if there’s no ‘reaction’, there’s no ‘reactor’. How much radiation is released and how dangerous the radiation is to human life can vary.

  • You see, the fact is that a nuclear reaction, it is not always a chain reaction.

    Due to realization of highly effective substance mass release processes into electromagnetic energy (alternating current), Solin Environment-Safe Quantum Nuclear Reactor avoids formation of radioactive waste and appearance of incontrollable emergency situations.

  • Hmm… I predict massive, worldwide orgies in 2036. :)

    Levity aside,taking out any major city has worldwide implications. The global economy, if it still exists in 25-years would suffer greatly. That said, it gives us plenty of time to stop blowing ourselves up–or to take a reprieve–and to puzzle out away to deflect it or reduce it’s major points of mass.

    If we can put Gizmo on Mars, we can fend off a hurtling galactic pebble.

  • I think that 25 years – that’s all we have, judging by the rate of degradation of the planet. And this is according to official data. The reality may be much worse.

  • @Anquietas: Actually, we can propably calculate the place where it impacts before the collision, so we would see the economical and other abstract effects sooner. I think that we can deflect it though, if it even goes on a collision course, because it will pass close to Earth way before 2036, and if SG has taught us anything, it’s that nukes can fix anything. :)

  • @flickshtain – There are official sources for definitions. Without them, I could say ‘purple’ and mean what everyone else knows as ‘ocean’. If you drive your car into someone else’s, I guarantee that you’ll try to convince your insurance company that it was an ‘accident’. :P Whether or not the universe is bound by causality is debatable, whether accidents exist is not because of it’s definition.

    And I hate to break it to you, but the reactor mentioned in your link still has radiation. I’m not sure if you’re using your own definition for radiation as you appear to be using for accident, but by the official definition, that reactor creates radiation. Though a quick glance makes it seem like the radiation would be negligible and not of the types that are particularly dangerous to humans in small amounts, there is radiation just the same. I don’t think there’s any known way to create electrical energy without creating radiation from a reactor or otherwise. Ways to do it that are seemingly safe to humans, sure. But not ways to do it without creating any radiation. And before you try to ‘prove’ otherwise again, bare in mind that by invoking the word ‘electromagnetic’, you’ve already revealed that there is radiation. Or are you going with your own definition for that one too because it’s going to make things really difficult to discuss if you have your own definition for everything. :P

  • The Earth is flat. No it’s round. Well that’s because we don’t agree on definition! Ha,ha,ha,ha!!!

    @mythos Lol,forever and word man! But also a word of advice,don’t even start any sort of discussion with this guy..just read nonsences he writes around,here and in other threads!Let’s just say that he’s not on best terms with logic.

    And @flickshtein Talking about limited thinking and you could also connect that to what you said about education in another post..not producing radioactive waste and not creating radioactivity,in however big,or low amounts is not the same thing. Oh,maybe you understood that incorrectly by “accident”!?

  • I’m glad you see the difference between the radioactive radiation and electromagnetic radiation. And also you can see the difference between an accident from the perspective of human, and the point of view of the universe. And of course you understand that only one student like Hitler or Stalin, enough
    to destroy tens of millions more valuable lives, along with their future.
    You are right … Ok.

  • Are you mocking me because I wrote “reactor without radiation”, instead of “reactor without dangerous radiation”? Just because of one word, which I thought was obvious? If so, then you are just evil asses!:)

  • @mythos Lol! And all I can say at this point is;”Ah,for cryin’ out loud!”

  • Lets get this right as I know what I am talking about. This will NOT hit earth the key hole that they talk about get smaller with the more data we gather because that is where it is going and now we know that it will pass between earth and the moon, so yes very close but not going to do any damage to any thing at all. And for who discovered it, it was not a Stargate fan it was found by the “Keck” telescope in hawaii which is American (Unfountualy) and it was named because we knew it would come very close to use and if it hit us nothing thats not 10ft underground would die, Apopius is the death brigger hence the name.

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