This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

30 December 2005

Apophis, the Name

One of the most watched Near Earth Objects is Apophis, a 300+ m wide asteroid that will pass closely by the Earth in 2029 with a return in 2036. There is a small concern that depending upon its actual trajectory and its Earth flyby in 2029, an actual impact encounter could occur in 2036.

One item this author did not realize was the actual origin and meaning of the word Apophis, a god from ancient Egypt (From "Gods of Egypt" link below):

Name: Apep

Other Names: Apophis, the Destroyer.

Patron of: evil and darkness.

Appearance: a great serpent or crocodile.

Description: Apep was the ancient spirit of evil and destruction who dwelled in eternal darkness. Every day he would attempt to devour the Sun Boat of Ra as it sailed the heavens. Set's original role was to battle Apep and keep him from destroying the boat. Occasionally, Apep would succeed, and the world would be plunged into darkness (a solar eclipse?). But Set and his companion Mehen would cut a hole in Apep's belly to allow the Sun Boat to escape.

Apep commanded an army of demons that plagued mankind. Only by putting faith in the gods of light could people defeat the demons.

Every year, a ritual called the "Banishing of Apep" would be held by the priests of Ra. They would take an effigy of Apep and in the center of the temple they would pray that all the wickedness in Egypt would go into the effigy. Then they would trample the effigy, crush it, beat it with sticks, pour mud on it, and eventually burn and destroy it. In this way, the power of Apep would be curtailed for another year.

Worship: Not worshipped. Ever.

Link: Wikipedia entry on Apophis

Link: Gods of Egypt (Apep or Apophis, the Destroyer)

Link: Gods of Egypt - Apophis (Apep), the Enemy of Re

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