If that whole end-of-the-world thing doesn't work out next year, maybe the jig is up in 2036: Scientists are now saying that's the year an asteroid previously thought harmless (after having been deemed catastrophic before that) might just plow into the Earth. A few Russian scientists are warning that Apophis, which is expected to come within five Earth radii of our planet, will hit a gravitational "keyhole" that will pull it onto a collision course, the Christian Science Monitor reports.
Apophis—which the Russian scientists estimate will hit our planet on April 13, 2036—has a diameter of two football fields, so a collision could be catastrophic. But NASA says the chance of an impact is slight. "Technically, they’re correct, there is a chance in 2036 that Apophis will hit Earth," said Donald Yeomans, head of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office. But that chance is just one in 250,000, he says.
(Read more asteroid stories.)