It may seem like a scene from a Hollywood movie, but in fact a warning issued by the Russian Space Agency and not from NASA -as many might assume- regarding an asteroid called “Apophis” expected to collide with Earth in 2036, putting an end to civilization as we know it!!!
The heroes willing to save Earth from a deadly collision with a 305 meters (1000 feet) asteroid are Russian astronauts. According to Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Space Agency, Apophis will pass by our planet’s orbit at a distance of 29,450 kilometers (18,300 miles) in 2029.
This will make it close to our communication satellites and visible from Earth with a binocular. Yet when it returns in 2036, there is a chance it might hit Earth. Even if calculations show it’s a one-in-a-hundred-thousand chance, Russians still take such a threat seriously.
It was in 1908 when a 30 meter (100 feet) asteroid exploded in Tunguska, Siberia, flattening almost one thousand square miles of forest (1609 kilometers), destroying about 100 million trees. The impact created a blast almost 1000 times bigger than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. The shock waves were felt in Europe while the strange glow which emanated from the explosion spread over Asia and Europe.
If that asteroid would’ve hit an inhabited area, it could’ve flatten that city, killing everyone living in it. Thereby, a collision with an asteroid in the size of Apophis will have catastrophic results, since the energy of the impact would be about 100,000 times more than that of the Hiroshima bomb. Scientists believe that even dinosaurs were killed by an asteroid which hit Earth 65 million years ago!
When discovering the asteroid, the Russian space agency suggested a joint mission that would intercept Apophis, yet NASA officials refused to participate considering the asteroid as no eminent threat and that it will miss Earth. But the Russian still insist in addressing this issue even if the danger from Apophis is very slight, and the means available right now in our hands are not advanced enough to modify the asteroid trajectory.
The technologies needed for such a mission do not exist yet even if an international project will be initiated, and if a real threat emerges at present, people will be helpless for years, especially since developing complex machinery to deflect the asteroid will require tens of billions of dollars.
The money availability is rather scarce taking into consideration the financial distress the planet will be facing for years to come, after the burst of the credit crisis worldwide! So if we are to live a 2039 Armageddon it will indeed be a replay of the tragic drama, just into a horrific colliding realized ending!