Russian astronomers have said that according to scientific work the Apophis asteroid could collide with the Earth on April 13, 2036.
Professor Leonid Sokolov at St. Petersburg State University told Science: “Apophis will approach Earth at a distance of 37,000–38,000 kilometers (22,990–23,612 miles) on April 13, 2029,”
He added: “Its likely collision with Earth may occur on April 13, 2036.”
However, Sokolov commented likelyhood of an actual strike is highly improbable, because the 900-foot-long piece of space rock will most-likely break up into fragments before then, leading to smaller collisions with our planet over several years.
Sokolov and his colleagues are forecasting the event based on the possibility that the asteroid’s trajectory could be altered if it passes through a small gravitational keyhole in 2029
NASA has confirmed the event as a substantial threat to the Earth’s future.
Donald Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, according to space website Life’s Little Mysteries said: “Technically, they’re correct, there is a chance in 2036 that Apophis will hit Earth,”
But Yeomans said the probability of this happening is only 1-in-250,000. In April 2029, the asteroid will travel within five Earth radii of the planet, but there is only a “miniscule” chance it will pass through the keyhole, which is not much bigger than Apophis itself. If it does, however, it will be sent on a 2036 crash course for Earth, Yeomans said.
Nevertheless, Sokolov and his colleagues are developing plans of action based on the various scenarios and further observations of the asteroid.
NASA is able to create a plan to alter the asteroid’s orbit if necessary, after observing Apophis with optical telescopes and radar systems when the asteroid makes a close pass by Earth some time in late 2012 and early 2013.