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Asteroid '2011AG5' to Miss Earth After New NASA Calculations

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By Myles Collier , Christian Post Contributor
December 26, 2012|10:09 am

A new asteroid that was discovered by scientists working at NASA no longer poses a threat of impacting our planet in 2040 after new computer models showed that it was not on a collision course with Earth as was previously thought.

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    NASA

On Friday, scientists from NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office in Pasadena, Calif., revealed that "the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated."

Computer models and calculations of the asteroid, 2011 AG5, showed "the Earth's position in February 2040 no longer falls within the range of possible future paths."

NASA identified the new asteroid in January 2011 and revealed that the space rock was 460 feet wide. The object had alerted officials of the United Nations Action Team on near-Earth objects, which began discussing ways to divert it.

Astronomers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa worked with NASA's astronomers in Pasadena to analyze the asteroids trajectory and rule out the potential threat, according to Discovery.com.

Scientists will be able to observe the asteroid starting in 2013 through 2016. During which they will be able to monitor the object from land based telescopes.

In 2023 the rock will make a "keyhole pass" of Earth, which is an area it passes through on the orbit before it would hit Earth. According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab, when this occurs the asteroid will come within a mere 0.02 astronomical units of our planet, or 1.86 million miles.

The asteroid which some scientists claim caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was nine miles wide, compared to 460 foot wide 2011 AG5. Still, if it were to make contact in a densely populated area the loss of life would be immense.

There are roughly 19,000 confirmed "mid-sized" asteroids within 120 million miles of Earth, according to NASA. Mid-sized asteroids range in size between 330 and 3,300 feet wide and if one impacted Earth it could devastate a city-sized area.

 

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