A close call on tuesday, after an asteroid measuring 36m across whistled within a whisker of the Earth on Tuesday, only two days after it was first detected by astronomers. It measured just 36m (120ft) across, but the last known asteroid of such a size to hit Earth wiped out an area of Russian forest the size of London in 1908.
Space experts claim more extensive monitoring systems and an Armageddon-style protocol must be urgently set up, with an enormous asteroid measuring 300m across expected to make an even closer pass in 2029. The Apophis asteroid, first detected in 2004, will come within 22,000 miles (36,000km) of Earth when it passes by – nearer to the Earth than television satellites and so close it can be seen with the naked eye as a burning point in the sky.
Although there is no chance of the asteroid colliding with Earth when it passes by on Friday, April 13 of that year, there is an extremely small chance it could fall into a gravitational loop and come back to hit the planet in 2038, scientists claimed.