01.11.13 7:10 PM ET
Sorry, Doomsday Theorists
When the Mayan calendar's end failed to bring extreme death and destruction last December (shocker?), it was time for doomsday believers to find a new source of neuroses. After realizing that the Yellowstone supervolcano was was not going to erupt in the very near future, they finally settled on the flyby of the asteroid Apophis, which is due to happen in 2029, and then again in 2036. Unfortunately for the apocalyptic types (and fortunately for the rest of us), the theory that Apophis could impact the Earth has been disproved by NASA. As Tariq Malik explains:
New observations of asteroid Apophis recorded Wednesday (Jan.9) have revealed the space rock poses no real threat to the Earth in 2036, NASA officials said. Astronomers tracked the asteroid Apophis as Apophis made a distant flyby of Earth at a range of about 9.3 million miles (15 million kilometers).
When Apophis buzzes the Earth on April 13, 2029, it will come within 19,400 miles (31,300 km) of our planet. That's closer than some geostationary satellites, which orbit the Earth at a range of 22,370 miles (36,000 km), and will be the closest flyby of an asteroid the size of Apophis in recorded history, NASA officials said.
So while doomsday believers make a mad dash towards their shelters in 2029, I'll be going straight to a telescope. Who's with me?