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January 9 2013

Apophis: why Nasa takes a special interest in the asteroid's latest pass


Apophis hit the headlines in December 2004. Six months after its discovery, astronomers had accrued enough images to calculate a reasonable orbit for the 300-metre chunk of space rock. What they saw was shocking.

There was a roughly 1 in 300 chance of the asteroid hitting Earth during April 2029. Nasa issued a press release spurring astronomers around the world to take more observations in order to refine the orbit. Far from dropping, however, the chances of an impact on (you've guessed it) Friday 13 April 2029 actually rose.

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