An asteroid travelling at 23,000mph could crash into Earth on April 13, 2036 killing millions and causing global chaos, scientists claim.
In a plotline taken straight from a science-fiction film, astronomers in Russia are predicting that the 300-yard-wide Apophis could slam into the planet in 25 years’ time.
But don’t panic just yet, as it is extremely unlikely to happen.
So unlikely, in fact, that Nasa has given the catastrophic event odds of 250,000-to-1 that it actually takes place.
First, the asteroid must pass through a narrow gravitational keyhole – a small region in space that can alter the course of a passing object due to Earth’s gravity – in April 2029 before it can be on course to collide seven years later.
The force of Earth’s gravity is so great that if the asteroid goes through the hole its path could be ‘tweaked’ – sending it straight towards us.
Donald Yeomans, head of Nasa’s Near Earth Object Program office, said there is a remote chance the asteroid could collide with Earth.
‘The situation is that in 2029, on April 13, Apophis flies very close to Earth, within five Earth radii, so that will be quite an event, but we’ve already ruled out the possibility of it hitting at that time,’ he told Life’s Little Mysteries.
‘On the other hand, if it goes through what we call a keyhole during that close Earth approach then it will indeed be perturbed just right so that it will come back and smack Earth on April 13, 2036.’
Although Russian scientists are predicting the asteroid may strike earth in 2036, Mr Yeomans said it is highly unlikely.