Tuesday, February 28, 2012
NASA Identifies New Asteroid That Could Hit Earth

NASA Identifies New Asteroid That Could Hit Earth

A new asteroid has been discovered that is on a path which could cause the object to collide with earth in 2040.

NASA identified the new asteroid which poses some threat to our planet. It is 460 feet wide and has been named 2011 AG5.

The object has already alerted officials of the United Nations Action Team on near-Earth objects, which has begun discussing ways to divert it.

Officials have calculated the odds of the asteroid striking the earth at one in 625, though that could change should the asteroid deviate from its current orbit.

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 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.

The UN Action Team is already thinking of ways to defect the asteroid should the need arise.

One option that has been discussed would require sending a probe directly into the asteroid which would cause the orbit to shift.

Using Nuclear weapons has also been discussed, but this would create many smaller asteroids that would presumably disintegrate once they enter earth's atmosphere.

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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