With the hoopla around earth’s “doomsday” behind us, there’s another reassuring reminder NASA revealed to help alleviate any thoughts of the world coming to an end.
NASA experts announced an asteroid feared to be on a collision course with our planet is no longer a threat.
“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,” NASA declared Friday.
Uncertainties about the orbit of the asteroid, known as 2011 AG5, previously allowed for a less than a 1% chance it would hit the Earth in February 2040, NASA said.
To narrow down the asteroid’s future course, NASA put out a call for more observation. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa took up the task and managed to observe the asteroid over several days in October.
The new observations, made with the Gemini 8-meter telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, reduce the orbit uncertainties by more than a factor of 60. That means the Earth’s position in February 2040 is not in range of the asteroid’s possible future paths.
The asteroid, which is 140 meters (460 feet) in diameter, will get no closer to Earth than 890,000 kilometers (553,000 miles), or more than twice the distance to the moon, NASA said.
A collision with Earth would have released about 100 megatons of energy, several thousand times more powerful than the atomic bombs that ended World War II, according to the Gemini Observatory.