Will the "end of the world" come on Friday, April 13, 2029?

Published in GralsWelt 47/2008

Earlier than many other magazines, and at that time to the astonishment of some readers, we already had in the Grail World in 1998 (“Death from space"Under" Science ") reports that our earth is exposed to a possible bombardment from space.

Small and micro planets (asteroids) and comets could hit the earth and wreak havoc on unimaginable proportions. There have been such collisions in the past[i]. To what extent are these responsible for the extinction of entire species (fall of the dinosaurs), mass deaths of people and animals, the fall of civilizations (cf. "The Atlanris Saga " Part I-IV under "Esotericism") were responsible or influenced historical processes (cf. "Violence from Heaven", under “Science”) remains controversial.


For some years it has been undisputed that impacts, i.e. collisions of the earth with other - hopefully not too large - celestial bodies would also be possible in the future, which could lead to incalculable destruction up to the annihilation of all earthly life. Hollywood has already discovered this scenario for itself. Fortunately, the likelihood of such impacts is low; however, large enough to consider and think about countermeasures.

To do this, the first thing to do is to locate all "earth orbit cruisers" that have orbital times in the order of years. The orbits of these NEOs (Near Earth Objects) cross the orbit of the earth during their orbit, and they could theoretically hit the earth. They are relatively small astronomical objects that can only be detected using sophisticated, highly developed technology that has only recently become available. According to Bild der Wissenschaft 2/2004 there are around 1,100 earth orbit cruisers with a diameter of more than one kilometer; big enough to cause civilization-endangering devastation in the event of a collision on planet earth. Long-period comets or planetoids with orbital periods of decades and centuries, which in extreme cases could only be discovered days or weeks before a possible impact, are added. Then there would be hardly any time left for defense and disaster control.

If the plans work, a special observatory (Pan-Starrs) in Hawaii will track down all short-period NEOs that could pose a threat to Earth within three years.

Then you will have to think about countermeasures. It could e.g. For example, it is sufficient to move a dangerous NEO in its perihelion (the point of its orbit closest to the sun) to change its orbit in such a way that there is no longer any danger. Such a shock would be conceivable through a precisely ignited nuclear explosion, which causes part of the planetoid to evaporate and changes the trajectory of the rest of the body through the recoil. This is still science fiction right now. But for the first time in human history we are in a position to recognize such dangers from space and perhaps to do something about it.

The asteroid "99942 Apophis"[ii]

It will be exciting on Friday, April 13th, 2029. Then “Apophis”, which was only discovered in 2004, a small planet about 320 meters in size with a mass of 45 million tons, approaches our earth on a collision course. Its orbit around the sun is very similar to that of the earth, so that close encounters can occur again and again.

If the published calculations are accurate, it will scrape past the earth about 36,000 kilometers away. 36,000 km - that seems like a lot, but it is only a hair's breadth, so to speak, namely less than three times the diameter of the earth (12,500 km) and less than a tenth the distance to the moon (384,000 km)! One can speak of a near collision! On April 13, 2029, Apophis will pass Earth as a not very bright star in the constellation Cancer. This makes it one of the very rare asteroids that can be observed with the naked eye[iii].

If one calculates with an orbital speed of the earth of almost 30 km / second (108,000 km / h) and about the same orbital speed for Apophis, then it is about a time difference of maybe only 20 minutes (or a few hours) whether the impact will occur or not !

In December 2004, NASA astronomers calculated an impact probability of 1:37 (2.7%), and corresponding publications caused some unrest. After various corrections through increasingly more precise observations, a collision with the earth is currently ruled out; so we should get away with it in 2029.

However, the near collision of the earth with Apophis (who can break apart) will change its orbit, so that a reliable forecast for the next close encounter in 2036 can only be made after 2029. However, an impact in 2036 is considered unlikely. Nevertheless, it remains exciting!

The energy released in a possible collision of the earth with Apophis is estimated at 1480 megatons of TNT (the Hiroshima bomb corresponded to 0.015, the largest nuclear explosion, the Russian "Tsar bomb", corresponded to 50 megatons of TNT). The consequences of such a collision, fortunately quite improbable, for the earth depend on the impact location, the impact angle and the nature of the asteroid. Long-term threats to life on earth are unlikely to be feared, but an impact in or near a metropolitan area could result in millions of deaths and trigger a global economic catastrophe.

There have been similar near-collisions in the past. In a few isolated cases they could only be observed towards the end of the 20th century. Before that, they went unnoticed and did not upset anyone.

We can assume that everything will go well in 2029 and 2036. Astronomy and space travel will continue to develop and in the not too distant future will be able to recognize impacts in good time and, hopefully, even ward them off.

Addendum 2021:

At the end of September 2021, a rocket was launched that is supposed to hit a (harmless) asteroid. Another spacecraft should then measure the impact crater and determine whether the orbit of an asteroid (which is endangering the earth) can be changed in this way. So you want to be prepared for the - hopefully not occurring - emergency.

(5) Steel Duncan, Target Earth, Franckh-Kosmos, 2001.
[i] More than 130 impact craters with diameters of up to 200 km have been detected on earth.
[ii] The Egyptian god Apophis, the embodiment of dissolution, darkness and chaos, is the adversary of the sun god Re. Apophis is depicted as a giant serpent in Egyptian mythology.
[iii] The brightness when approaching the earth is given as 3.3 mag. That is a little less than the brightness of the Pole Star.