Exploring the Asteroid Apophis With Small Satellites

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The 360-metre diameter asteroid Apophis will come very close to Earth on 13 Apri
The 360-metre diameter asteroid Apophis will come very close to Earth on 13 April 2029. (Image: Jonathan Männel / mit Eyes on the Solar System, NASA/JPL)
In five years’ time, a large asteroid will fly very close to Earth - a unique opportunity to study it. Concepts for a national German small satellite mission are being examined at the University of Würzburg.

The author of a disaster novel couldn’t have dreamed it up any better: On a Friday, the thirteenth of all days, the potentially dangerous asteroid (99942) Apophis will come extremely close to humanity. On 13 April 2029, there will only be around 30,000 kilometres between the cosmic rock and Earth. It will then be possible to see Apophis with the naked eye as a point of light in the evening sky, even from Würzburg.

What makes the asteroid so dangerous: its average diameter is an impressive 340 metres. ...
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