Thursday, January 10, 2008

The asteroid will miss Mars

From here:
New observations of the Mars-bound Asteroid 2007 WD5 have allowed astronomers to refine their predictions for the space rock's position during its red planet rendezvous on Jan. 30, according an update by NASA's Near-Earth Object (NEO) program office.

"As a result, the impact probability has dropped dramatically, to approximately 0.01 percent or 1-in-10,000 odds, effectively ruling out the possible collision with Mars," researchers said in the Jan. 9 report.

The new odds were released one day after astronomers with NASA's NEO office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., lowered 2007 WD5's chances of striking Mars from 3.6 percent to 2.5 percent, or about a 1-in-40 chance, on Tuesday. After analyzing results from a new round of observations between Jan. 5 and Jan. 8, scientists now estimate the asteroid will make its closest pass by Mars at a maximum distance of about 16,155 miles (26,000 km).

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