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Michio Kaku on Asteroid 99942 Apophis


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Theoretical physicist, author, and co-founder of string field theory, Michio Kaku talked about various science and space issues. He discussed concerns by Russian scientists that the asteroid Apophis could smash into Earth in 2036. While NASA has said the chances of this happening are just one in a quarter million, he noted that we'll be able to make a more accurate assessment of its potential collision during its first pass of Earth in 2029. Though Apophis is only a couple football fields wide, it's large enough to take out a country the size of Germany or France, as meteorites would land in all directions during an impact, he warned. Biography: Dr. Michio Kaku is an internationally recognized authority in theoretical physics and the environment. He holds the Henry Semat Professorship in Theoretical Physics at the City College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has lectured around the world and his Ph.D. level textbooks are required reading at many of the top physics laboratories. Dr. Kaku graduated from Harvard in 1968, summa cum laude, and number one in his physics class. He received a Ph.D. from the University. of California at Berkeley Radiation Laboratory in 1972. He held a lectureship at Princeton University in 1973. He then joined the faculty at the City University of New York, where he has been a professor of theoretical physics for 25 years. His goal is to help complete Einstein's dream of a theory of everything, a single equation, perhaps no more than one inch long, which will unify all the fundamental forces in the universe. Wikipedia 99942 Apophis (pron.: /əˈpɒfɪs/, previously known by its provisional designation 2004 MN4) is a near-Earth asteroid that caused a brief period of concern in December 2004 because initial observations indicated a probability of up to 2.7% that it would strike the Earth in 2029. Additional observations provided improved predictions that eliminated the possibility of an impact on Earth or the Moon in 2029. However, a possibility remained that during the 2029 close encounter with Earth, Apophis would pass through a gravitational keyhole, a small region no more than about 800 m (half a mile) wide, that would set up a future impact on April 13, 2036. This possibility kept the asteroid at Level 1 on the Torino impact hazard scale until August 2006, when the probability that Apophis would pass through the keyhole was determined to be very small. Apophis broke the record for the highest level on the Torino Scale, being, for only a short time, a level 4, before it was lowered. The diameter of Apophis is approximately 325 metres (1,066 ft). As of the December 29, 2012 observation arc, the probability of an April 13, 2036 impact is considered to be 1 in 140,000,000. Preliminary observations by Goldstone radar in January 2013 have effectively ruled out the possibility of an Earth impact by Apophis in 2036. Of objects not recently observed, there are about ten asteroids with a more notable Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale than Apophis. On average, an asteroid the size of Apophis (325 meters) can be expected to impact Earth about every 80,000 years or so



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