The Straits Times
Published on Jan 11, 2013

Big asteroid no longer threat to Earth: US astronomers


WASHINGTON (AP) - United States (US) astronomers say a big asteroid is no longer even a remote threat to smash into Earth in about 20 years.

They got a much better look at the asteroid when it whizzed by Earth on Wednesday. They recalculated, determining it was not on path to hit Earth on April 13, 2036 as once feared.

At more than 300m wide, the rock could do significant damage but not cause worldwide extinctions.

About nine years ago, when astronomers first saw the asteroid, they thought there was a 2.7 per cent chance that Apophis would smack into the planet. Later, they lowered the chances. The asteroid is named after an evil Egyptian mythical serpent.