‘Doomsday asteroid’ poses no threat to Earth, NASA says

Updated 11 January 2013
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‘Doomsday asteroid’ poses no threat to Earth, NASA says

WASHINGTON: A space rock popularly dubbed the “doomsday asteroid” because of fears it could smash into Earth a couple of decades from now poses no risk, NASA said after new observations of the object.
Asteroid 99942 Apophis was scanned by optical telescopes and deep-space radars as it made a flyby this week, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said in a press release.
Named after a figure in Egyptian mythology, Apophis sparked a scare when it was first detected in 2004.
Early calculations suggested a 2.7-percent probability of collision in 2029, the highest ever for a detected asteroid, but this risk was soon discarded after further observations.
A question mark, though, remained over an impact for April 13, 2036, which NASA initially put at one in 45,000 and then lowered to one in 250,000.
The new observations show that even this remote probability can be excluded, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said in the statement Thursday.
“With the new data... we have effectively ruled out the possibility of an Earth impact by Apophis in 2036,” said Don Yeomans, in charge of the JPL’s Near-Earth Object Program.
“The impact odds as they stand now are less than one in a million, which makes us comfortable saying we can effectively rule out an Earth impact in 2036. Our interest in asteroid Apophis will essentially be for its scientific interest for the foreseeable future.”
The 2036 flyby will be the closest of an asteroid of this size, for Apophis will come within 31,300 kilometers (19,400 miles), meaning that it will zip within the ring of geostationary orbits.
On Feb. 15, asteroid 2012 DA14 will come even closer.
Yeomans said DA14 was 40 meters (130 feet) across and would skim the planet at just 27,500 kilometers (17,200 miles).
Images of Apophis captured this week by the European Space Agency’s Herschel telescope found it measured around 325m (1,056 feet) across, about a fifth bigger than previously thought.


American literary giant Philip Roth dies at 85

Updated 23 May 2018
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American literary giant Philip Roth dies at 85

NEW YORK: Prolific novelist Philip Roth, a dominant force in American literature throughout the latter half of the 20th century, has died, US media said late Tuesday. He was 85.
The New Yorker magazine first reported the death of Roth, who won the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his acclaimed novel “American Pastoral.”
The New York Times, citing a close friend, confirmed the death of the writer, who lived in New York and Connecticut.
A prolific essayist and critic, Roth was best known for mining the Jewish-American experience in his work.
His titanic stature on the post-World War II literary scene came from the universality of his message — in his own words: “I don’t write Jewish, I write American.”
He long managed to sustain his literary output both in terms of quality as well as quantity, as exemplified by his widely admired political trilogy that included “American Pastoral” as well as “I Married a Communist” (1998) and “The Human Stain” (2000).
The decorated author won most top literary honors but the coveted Nobel Literature Prize eluded him.
The Swedish Academy announced earlier this month there will be no Nobel Literature Prize this year in the wake of a crisis stemming from the anti-sexual harassment #MeToo campaign.
Philip Milton Roth was born on March 19, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey, the grandson of European Jews who were part of the 19th-century wave of immigration to the US.