Apophis misses — this time

The asteroid Apophis, named after the Egyptian demonic serpent-spirit of destruction, swung by the earth on Jan. 9 — only 9 million miles from our planet’s surface. The potentially deadly object is scheduled to return twice in the next few decades. In 2029, the rough 300-yard-wide rockpile should pass within 23,000 miles. In 2036 Apophis could live up to its name and strike the earth. Would that be bad?

In 1961 the Soviet Union detonated the largest thermonuclear bomb ever: 57 megatons (or 57 million tons of TNT). The 1883 volcanic eruption of Krakatoa was equivalent to 200 megatons. Apophis hitting the earth would be roughly equal to a force of 500 megatons. That would be really bad.

But for now, we’ve dodged the demonic serpent-spirit of destruction bullet. And we can all go back to our thriller novels (like my book The SHIVA Compression!)  and our apocalyptic movies. Because it’s always way better to read about a 500 megaton explosion in a book than to get one up in your grille in real life. If that were to happen in 2036, you think the sales of thriller novels might slack off a bit?

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