Asteroid dubbed ‘God of Chaos’ could hit Earth in 2068 warns scientist

The "God of Chaos" asteroid could be on a collision course with Earth, a scientist has warned.

The 1,115ft peanut-shaped space rock flew past our planet in the early hours of Saturday.

It makes the round trip around the Sun every 324 days but has a wobbly orbit which could see it one day collide with Earth.

The impact would be equivalent to 880 million tons of trinitrotoluene (TNT), an explosive material, exploding all at once.

Dr Dave Tholen, 65, who helped discover the rock in 2004, said the earliest it could fly into our planet was 2068.

He gave the chances as one in 380,000 but warned humanity needed to be ready to stop asteroid collisions, the Mail Online reports.

The University of Hawaii astronomer said new observations have shown it is drifting from its orbit by 557ft per year, adding: "This is enough to keep the 2068 impact scenario in play."

Apophis, which is named after the Ancient Egyptian God of darkness and chaos, put space scientists on high alert following its discovery.

They feared that the 1,200ft asteroid had a nearly 1-in-30 chance of hitting Earth in 2029 and also in 2036 before both were later ruled out by NASA.

Scientists have kept a close eye on the the asteroid ever since. It is known as a stony space rock which means it is made of silicon and oxygen-based materials and includes a mix of nickel and iron.

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A statement from the space agency said: "Like all asteroids, Apophis is a remnant from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.

"It originated in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Over millions of years, its orbit was changed primarily by the gravitational influence of large planets like Jupiter so that it now orbits the Sun closer to Earth."

Research last month found the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs travelled 186 billion miles before being "pinballed" by Jupiter.

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Harvard scientists reckoned the 10-mile wide space rock started off as debris from the Oort Cloud at the edge of the Solar System.

Their theory said it was pulled out of its orbit by Jupiter before the Sun ripped it apart and sent bits smashing into the Earth.

Harvard's top astronomer Professor Avi Loeb and astrophysicist Amir Siraj said their predictions matches with the dates of other massive craters on Earths.

Mr Siraj said: "Basically, Jupiter acts as a kind of pinball machine.

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"Jupiter kicks these incoming long-period comets into orbits that bring them very close to the Sun."

Mystery surrounds the origin of the devastating impact 66 million years ago that triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs.

The Chicxulub impactor saw the extinction of nearly three-quarters of all plant and animal species on Earth.

The new study claimed that a significant fraction of the dino-killing comet was a "sun grazer" from the Oort cloud – which have a different composition to rocks in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

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