Earth Current Affairs - 2019

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99942 Apophis Asteroid Expected to Fly Close to the Earth

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has predicted that asteroid 99942 Apophis will fly towards the Earth in ten years. There is no need to worry since the asteroid will be about 31,000km away from the surface of the Earth.

Since it is relatively rare for such a large object like 99942 Apophis to pass so close to Earth, it will offer scientists around the world a great opportunity to conduct a close-up study of the Apophis’ shape, composition and possibly even its interior.

NASA has stated that about 2 billion people should be able to see it pass by with their naked eyes as it flies above Earth from the east coast to the west coast of Australia, then across the Indian Ocean and the equator, before moving west above Africa and finally over the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientists predict that Apophis still has a small chance of impacting Earth, less than 1 in 100,000 many decades from now.

99942 Apophis

Asteroid 99942 Apophis was discovered by US astronomers in 2004 and was named after the Egyptian god of chaos and destruction. It is a 370-meter diameter near-Earth asteroid.

Insight Mars lander detects likely Marsquake

National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) InSight lander spacecraft has detected what’s believed to be a “marsquake” on the Red Planet. NASA scientists are still working to confirm the source of the faint trembling.

Scientists believe the trembling may not be due to wind or movement of the lander’s robotic arm but from below the Martian surface. If scientists confirm it would become the first seismic activity ever detected on Mars.

NASA’s InSight Lander Mission

NASA’s InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport is a Mars lander aimed to undertake the first-ever thorough checkup since it formed 4.5 billion years ago. Insight Mission will also measure tectonic activity and meteorite impacts on Mars.

NASA’s Insight is the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth the “inner space” of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core. Studying these internal structures will aid in answering the early formation of rocky planets in our inner solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars – more than 4 billion years ago, as well as rocky exoplanets.