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Scientists take a final Dig on Asteroid Apophis. See their final conclusion.





In 2004, scientists first spotted the space rock that is now known as Apophis. It's precisely the kind of object that most humans probably want to know about: it's terribly big and sometimes comes close to Earth uncomfortably. One such occasion is April 13, 2029, when Apophis skims so close to Earth that it passes through the realm of, particularly high-altitude satellites.


Researchers are excited. They've estimated how seldom such a massive object comes this close to Earth. Marina Brozović, a radar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, told Space.com, "This something that occurs about once every 1,000 years, so obviously, it is generating a lot of interest,"


Apophis, like all near-Earth asteroids, has been rattling for centuries across the inner solar system, unseen by humans. It is more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) high, about the height of the Eiffel Tower, scientists say. According to NASA, it's a combination of rock and metal and can be shaped a little like a peanut, two rough lumps smoothed together.


Apophis was spotted for the first time by astronomers in 2004. The discovery of the asteroid is a prime example of planetary protection, the job of detecting asteroids around Earth, tracing their exact orbits, and deciding whether they pose any danger of impacting Earth.


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