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NASA extends eight planetary missions, including sending OSIRIS-REx to the asteroid Apophis

Apophis' path past the Earth in 2029
Apophis’ path past the Earth in 2029.

NASA today announced that it is extending the missions of eight different planetary probes.

The missions – Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover), InSight lander, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, OSIRIS-REx, and New Horizons – have been selected for continuation, assuming their spacecraft remain healthy. Most of the missions will be extended for three years; however, OSIRIS-REx will be continued for nine years in order to reach a new destination, and InSight will be continued until the end of 2022, unless the spacecraft’s electrical power allows for longer operations.

The biggest news is the decision to extend OSIRS-REx so that it can rendezvous with the asteroid Apophis in 2029. The science team…

…will redirect the spacecraft to encounter Apophis, an asteroid roughly 1,200 feet (roughly 370 meters) in diameter that will come within 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) of Earth in 2029. OSIRIS-APEX will enter orbit around Apophis soon after the asteroid’s Earth flyby, providing an unprecedented close-up look at this S-type asteroid. It plans to study changes in the asteroid caused by its close flyby of Earth and use the spacecraft’s gas thrusters to attempt to dislodge and study the dust and small rocks on and below Apophis’ surface.

Apophis is a potentially dangerous asteroid, with a 1 in 150,000 chance it will hit the Earth in 2068. Getting as much information about it as soon as possible is crucial so that future generations will be prepared should its path eventually become a collision course.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • John hare

    Assuming it was determined that it would hit dead center in 2068,a one cm/sec nudge in 2029 would make it miss by almost 6,000 km.

  • That fear-mongering orbital chart shows Apophis passing around 4,000 miles away from Earth — not 20,000!

  • Andi

    John – and vice versa. If their calculations were off, that 1 cm/sec velocity change could result in a collision.

  • Andi

    Michael, by the same token, using the Earth diameter as 8,000 miles, the diagram shows the Moon’s orbit to be about 64,000 mi radius. Methinks there are some scaling issues.

  • Andi and Michael: That map is merely the logo for the Apophis conference I covered in November 2020, and linked to in the post above. It was never intended to be an accurate portrayal of reality.

  • I also should have not changed the caption from that November 2020 post, which clearly stated this was the logo for the conference.

  • John

    I stand with Apophis.

  • Chris

    …will redirect the spacecraft to encounter Apophis, an asteroid roughly 1,200 feet (roughly 370 meters) in diameter that will come within 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometers) of Earth in 2029.

    In 2029 how many satellites (in geosynchronous orbit) would this endanger? 541 listed today:

  • Star Bird

    When soon can we send both the Clintons Obama and Biden to Elba II?

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