NASA has said that the asteroid Apophis ("The Uncreator") will have a close approach to the Earth in 2029, but will not fly close enough to strike us. However, a Russian astronomer disagrees. On the Helium website, Terrence Aym quotes Leonid Sokolov as saying, "Apophis will approach Earth at a distance of 37,000 to 38,000 kilometers on April 13, 2029. Its likely collision with Earth may occur on April 13, 2036" if it remains on its present course (the closer the asteroid gets to the planet, the more difficult it will be to change its trajectory).
A collision with an object of this mass would generate the equivalent of one million megatons of TNT, or about 50 million Hiroshima-style atomic bombs, meaning that life on Earth would be destroyed. Has Sokolov calculated the time wrong--is the impact REALLY destined for December of 2012? (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this special interview). He has proposed a joint Russian-European Union task force to study the matter. Meanwhile, NASA has not offered an opinion regarding the accuracy of the Russian calculations.