A HUGE asteroid nicknamed the 'God of Chaos' is gaining speed as it travels towards Earth, according to wary experts.
The space rock has a potential impact date of 2068 and could cause an explosion as big as 880 million tons of the explosive substance TNT.
The asteroid is named after Apophis, the Egyptian god of chaos.
Astronomers at the University of Hawai’i have been observing Apophis and recently noticed that its accelerated on its path.
This is said to be due to a process called non-uniform radiation that is thrusting the asteroid along.
Experts have warned that there is a chance the 'God of Chaos' could impact Earth in the next 48 years.
New findings suggest an impact on April 12, 2068 is possible and could be catastrophic.
This because the asteroid is over 1,213 feet wide.
That makes it taller than The Shard, the tallest building in the UK standing at just over 1,000 feet.
Apophis was discovered back in 2004.
Originally a 2068 Earth impact was deemed impossible but the non-uniform radiation effect on the asteroid is said to have changed this possibility.
There's still no need to panic though.
Nasa's Sentry Risk Table estimates that there's a one in 150,000 chance that the asteroid will hit Earth in 48 years time.
However, Dave Tholen, a researcher from the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawai’i, thinks the chances are even slimmer.
According to Gizmodo, Tholen thinks the chances are closer to one in 530,000 for a 2068 impact.
Astronomers will continue to keep an eye on the huge space rock.
When it was first discovered there were concerns it had a 2.7% chance of hitting Earth in 2029.
More recent data suggests it will pass within 19,794 miles of Earth at the end of this decade.
What’s the difference between an asteroid, meteor and comet?
Here’s what you need to know, according to Nasa…
- Asteroid: An asteroid is a small rocky body that orbits the Sun. Most are found in the asteroid belt (between Mars and Jupiter) but they can be found anywhere (including in a path that can impact Earth)
- Meteoroid: When two asteroids hit each other, the small chunks that break off are called meteoroids
- Meteor: If a meteoroid enters the Earth's atmosphere, it begins to vapourise and then becomes a meteor. On Earth, it'll look like a streak of light in the sky, because the rock is burning up
- Meteorite: If a meteoroid doesn't vapourise completely and survives the trip through Earth's atmosphere, it can land on the Earth. At that point, it becomes a meteorite
- Comet: Like asteroids, a comet orbits the Sun. However rather than being made mostly of rock, a comet contains lots of ice and gas, which can result in amazing tails forming behind them (thanks to the ice and dust vapourising)
In other space news, Nasa has announced the discovery of water on the Moon's surface.
Stargazers are in for a treat this week as there's a chance to see a comet, Uranus at opposition and a 'Blue Moon' on Halloween.
And, SpaceX wants to take its Starlink satellite broadband service to Mars.
What are your thoughts on the 'God of Chaos' asteroid? Let us know in the comments…
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