NASA announced last week that an asteroid, which it feared would hit our planet in 2040, no longer posses a threat.
The asteroid, 2011 AG5, according to various calculations, had a little less than 1 percent chance to hit Earth sometime in the month of February 2040. Until now, it was estimated that the risk of the 140-meter-diameter, almost the size of two football fields, asteroid colliding with the our planet was as high as one in 500.
However, astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa set off on a scientific journey to understand and predict the asteroid's orbital trajectory. The observations were made with the Gemini 8-meter telescope on October 20, 21, and 27. They revealed that 2011 AG5 will miss Earth by around 550,000 miles. The distance happens to be twice the space between Earth and the moon.
On Friday, NASA stated, "An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated."
Even though the newly refined trajectory is not very different from one that was originally calculated, the uncertainties have been reduced by a factor of 60. The original discovery was made from images obtained with the NASA-sponsored Catalina Sky Survey on Mt Lemmon in Arizona.
by RTT Staff Writer
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