NASA gives all-clear: Earth safe from impact from giant asteroid for 100 years

Category : Science/Environment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. whew / wyu / (interj.) – an expression used to represent a whistling sound that shows relief, surprise, etc.

    Whew, I made it just in time! I thought I was going to be late!

  2. cosmic / ˈkɒz mɪk / (adj.) – relating to the universe or outer space

    My son wants to be an astronaut, so we decorated his bedroom in a cosmic theme.

  3. rule out (something) / rul aʊt / (phrasal v.) – to stop considering something as a possibility

    The police ruled out murder after finding no strong evidence of an attack.

  4. smack into (someone/something) / smæk ˈɪn tʊ / (phrasal v.) – to hit hard against someone or something

    The two basketball players accidentally smacked into each other.

  5. collision / kəˈlɪʒ ən / (n.) – an event where two or more things crash onto each other with force 

    There was a collision between a car and a truck on the highway.


Read the text below.

Whew, now here’s some good cosmic news: NASA has given Earth the all-clear from destruction by a huge 340-meter-wide asteroid named Apophis — for the next century, anyway.

The space agency has announced that new telescope observations have ruled out any chance of Apophis smacking into Earth in 2068.

Apophis was first detected in 2004, and scientists worried that it might come dangerously close to Earth in 2029 and again in 2036. NASA ruled out any chance of a strike for those two years, but a potential 2068 collision was for many years still a worry.

But now, thankfully, Earthlings can breathe a sigh of relief. A 2068 impact is not possible, and NASA’s calculations “don’t show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years,” said Davide Farnocchia of the space agency’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies in a statement on March 26. (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • NASA’s calculations “don’t show any impact risk for at least the next 100 years.” Do you personally trust their calculations? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • In your opinion, how much effort should governments put into preparing for an asteroid collision (ex. simply have a plan, actually create underground shelters)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If scientists discovered that an asteroid were going to collide with Earth next year, do you think that governments should tell everyone right away, or would it be better to keep the information secret to avoid the collapse of society? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you think it’s possible that governments are keeping any other information about space secret (ex. proof of life on Mars, contact with aliens)? Why or why not? Discuss.
Category : Science/Environment