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Near Miss

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Small, barely 15 meters asteroid 2011 MD passed by Earth and missed atmosphere for mere 12.000 kilometers, but Astronomers all around the World enjoyed watching its passing.

It had no chance to enter atmosphere, but even if it did, it was too small to do any damage, but would burn completely before reaching the planet crust.

While this small one entertained Astronomers all around the world, his two bigger brothers which we’re expecting in next 200 years are faster and much, much more dangerous.

First one we’re expecting is Apophis, Asteroid 99942. Named, not as most wrongly believed the Egyptian god, but for alien from SG1, one of most persistent villains on the show.

Initial observations indicated a small probability Apophis would strike the Earth in 2029. More precise calculations proved it will not hit Earth on the first pass, but very close and may strike through gravitational keyhole, a precise region in space no more than about a half-mile wide, what would set up a future impact on April 13, 2036. Its diameter is approximately 270 meters and its speed is 30.720 km/h.

Second Asteroid that has a chance to hit earth is 1999 RQ36 or Apollo Asteroid, expected to reach Earth in 2182. It has a 0,1% chance to strike Earth, what is in astronomical measures possibility which can’t be discarded, so it’s flight is thoroughly observed. Asteroid 1999 RQ36 is double the size of Apophis and its impact would have catastrophic consequences to life on Earth.

If improved calculations through time don’t change the possibility for 1999 RQ36 to strike Earth, last moment to have a plan how to avert it’s flight path is year 2080.

Anyone still think we don’t need Space Program or Project Icarus?