Asteroids and the Improbability of Our Existence: What Is Man That Thou Art Mindful of Him?

On April 13, 2029, a 370-meter wide asteroid formally known as 99942 Apophis will pass by Earth at a distance of about 19,000 miles. While 19,000 miles sounds like a long way away, in astronomical terms it’s actually the equivalent of having a bullet whiz by your ear. There are man-made satellites that orbit farther from Earth. Even scarier, it was initially believed there was a slight chance Apophis could strike the Earth in 2036. That’s why, when the asteroid and its trajectory was discovered in 2004, scientists named it after the Egyptian god of chaos who, by the way, is also the villain in the TV series, Stargate-SG1.