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Russia’s space agency wants to send a mission to Apophis, the notorious asteroid which may change its course and eventually collide with Earth. It will plant a radio beacon, which will help track the celestial body and assess the risks it poses.
The 300-meter-wide asteroid first made headlines in 2004, when NASA reported that it has 1 chance in 223 of impacting on our planet in 2029.
But additional observations proved that it will pass by at the small, but safe, distance of some 36,000 kilometers from Earth. The close approach however may result in an unpredictable gravitational pull on Apophis, which would change its course and pose a danger in 2036, when it comes back.
To better assess the risks it poses to the civilization the Roscosmos plans a robotic mission to the asteroid, chief Vladimir Popovkin announced on Monday.
The plan is “to land a module on the surface of Apophis and set up a radio beacon there, which will work after the spaceship’s lifetime expires.”
The beacon signal will allow astronomers to better calculate Apophis’ movement and the effect of the 2029 Earth flyby. The mission would not be launched before 2020.
Another target is Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. Roscosmos plans to send a spacecraft there in 2022 and is currently negotiating with its European counterpart ESA, which has a similar project, over a possible closer collaboration. Russia also plans a new Mars mission.
Originally posted by Skywatcher2011
Now this is pretty interesting.
Since all of this Doomsday hype of 2012 and asteroids hitting the Earth in this era, we have now learned there is a potential impact in 2029....
... you have to wonder why NASA has not mentioned anything of this in the science news.
Is the American government hiding something from us we don't know? Or is there a technology battle happening between powerhouse countries? Thoughts?
Originally posted by OnWhiteMars
Quite misleading indeed because it will not hit us the first time around. But because of the slight chance of hitting the gravitational 'keyhole', it may hit us upon return in 2036.
In any case, a very interesting and hot topic for the years to come. This is like a rehearsal for Armageddon.