Science

Infamous asteroid Apophis ‘rediscovered’ as scientists test asteroid defense mechanisms

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An artist’s impression of a potentially hazardous asteroid passing close to Earth. (Image credit: Juan Gartner via Getty Images)

A test of whether asteroid defense systems could spot a potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid on its closest approach successfully “rediscovered” the infamous asteroid 99942 Apophis, which will make a close encounter with our planet in 2029.

For this asteroid defense exercise, all previous data on Apophis were made inaccessible. This meant that astronomers had to start afresh during the asteroid’s close approachwhich began in December 2020 and culminated in March 2021. Would Apophis slip through the net, or could our network of sky surveys find it?

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