May 30, 2024

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‘God of Destruction’ asteroid Apophis will reach Earth in 2029 — and may meet some small satellites

‘God of Destruction’ asteroid Apophis will reach Earth in 2029 — and may meet some small satellites

In just under half a decade, a 1,000-foot-wide asteroid named after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction, Apophis, will pass within 30,000 miles (48,300 kilometers) of Earth. Scientists have no intention of letting the rare close pass of a space rock of this size go to waste.

On April 13, 2029 — at least Friday — when Apophis, officially known as (99942) Apophis, approaches Earth, it will become so prominent above our planet that it can be seen with the naked eye. NASA’s OSIRIS-APEX (formerly OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will be ready to meet the Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) in person. But, if all goes well, a group of small satellites could join NASA’s mission during its rendezvous.