Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What will you be doing on April 13, 2029?

Well, assuming I'm alive (I'll just have turned 62, my mother's current age), I'll probably be monitoring the shave that the asteroid Apophis is due to make near our planet. Once thought to be fairly likely to hit the planet, it is now thought to have a 1 in 250,000 chance, much less, but still not (pardon the pun) astronomical. It is thought that it will pass as close as 18,300 miles above the Earth's surface, and this Wired.com story includes a video from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Tracy's people) that animates what they think will happen:

It should be a wild ride in terms of world news updates that day.

Apophis is named for the monster of chaos and darkness in Aegyptian mythology that attacked Ra, the Sun, in His trip through the Underworld at night. It was seen as a snake or crocodile, and was sometimes known as the Serpent of the Nile. Apophis is the Greek term for the creature; the Aegyptian name has been reconstructed as Apep. Apophis was everything that opposed Ma'at, that which was orderly and good. In Aegyptian religion, like Judaism, chaos was seen as the ultimate evil and the bringing of order part of the very act of creation. How fitting that an asteroid of this name would be seen as Earth's opposer.

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