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Asteroid in 2040 Will Miss the Earth, Just Barely

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[ Science]

An asteroid discovered just last year and given tentative 1 in 500 odds of hitting the Earth in February 2040 is now no longer a danger to the planet, according to astronomers.

Data gathered using the Gemini North telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii has confirmed that asteroid 2011 AG5 will not be slamming into Earth. Astronomers at the University of Hawaii and NASA‘s Near-Earth Object Program (Spaceguard) were able to refine their calculations of the asteroid’s trajectory using the data.

“These were extremely difficult observations of a very faint object,” said Richard Wainscoat, a Gemini team member. “We were surprised by how easily the Gemini telescope was able to recover such a faint asteroid so low in the sky.”

2011 AG5 is 140 meters in diameter – around the length of two American football fields. If the asteroid were to hit the Earth, it would release around 100 megatons of energy, which is thousands of times more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

The discovery of 2011 AG5 was made by NASA’s Catalina Sky Survey. Original estimates gave the object a 0.2% chance of colliding with the Earth. A NASA contingency deflection analysis was conducted prior to the new data, showing a 95% likelihood of new data eliminating the asteroid as a threat. The agency stated that its experience studying 2011 AG5 demonstrates that it is “well situated” to predict the trajectories of asteroids that threaten the Earth.

Asteroid in 2040 Will Miss the Earth, Just Barely
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  • http://bocaskateshop.com James

    well……. all I can say “if” it hits

    come to papa.

  • church tabor

    good

  • Wagner

    140 Metres is NOT around the length of two (2) American football fields, but 1.276. An American football field is 120 yards long (100 yards between the goal lines, plus ten [10] yards of depth for each of two [2] end zones). 120 yards is about 109.73 metres. Thus, 140 metres is the length of about 1.276 such fields. The rough approximation is much closer to one [1] and one-quartre [1/4] than to two [2]) fields. Your approximation has missed the mark, as the asteroid seems destined to do, as well. Field goal attempts failed.

    • Robert Pezzell

      Why didn’t I notice that? Good correction.

  • jEREMIAH

    i bet you if we AKA (STUPID HUMANS) lazer or nuke THE ASTEROID. it will end up splitTing INTO A BUNCH OFF ASTEROID’S-
    then end up hitting the earth!

  • ErBear

    If asteroids become a problem, NASA can easily go up there and blow them up or rocket them away. No problem guys.

    • Ray

      Maybe in Hollywood. Real life not so much.

  • Robert Pezzell

    Any asteroid that misses a planet but comes fairly close (like earth 2040), would be gravitationally deflected into an altered orbit. It would be interesting to see what the next pass looks like.

  • ramiro torres

    the bible tells us in the book of revelation that a star will hit the earth. when god gave the apostol this vision there were no nasa or telescopes all john new was to call it a star. but jesuschrist still saves lives if you believe in him and repent of your sinful nature.

    • Ray

      Since it’s not a star I should be good to go with my sinful nature.