Saturday, December 29, 2007

Asteroid to hit Mars?

On January 30, 2008 an asteroid will pass Mars very close. Will it effect the Mars rovers if it hits the planet?
The chance that a rogue mini-world — asteroid 2007 WD5 — will smack into Mars on January 30th has increased from 1.3 percent to 3.9 percent.

That’s the new estimation from officials at the Near Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), stemming from several sky watching teams in Alaska, New Mexico, and in Arizona.
Read more at Live Science here.
The pre-discovery observations were located by Andy Puckett, a recent Ph.D. from the University of Chicago who has since moved to the University of Alaska Anchorage. Dr. Puckett located the observations in the archive of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey II, which contains extensive repeat coverage of 300 square degrees along the sky's celestial equator. The observations were taken using a 2.5 meter aperture telescope at the Apache Point Observatory near Cloudcroft, New Mexico. For the recent orbit refinement, these pre-discovery observations on November 8 were added to the existing observations provided by the Catalina Sky Survey and Spacewatch observatories (both near Tucson AZ) as well as New Mexico Tech's Magdalena Ridge Observatory.

More from NEO JPL page here.

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