An asteroid was discovered in 2011 and was named 2011 AG5. Since the asteroid’s discovery, scientists have plotted as much of its orbit as they can. According to the scientists, there is a very small chance that the asteroid could impact the Earth in February 2040. However, there is no need to wake up Bruce Willis just yet. The scientists have only watched the asteroid for half of its orbit so they can’t say for certain at this point where it will be 28 years from now.
The asteroid has an elliptical orbit and is about 450 feet across. Right now NASA’s Near Earth Object Program has calculated the risks the asteroid will impact the earth in 2040 at 1 in 625. The scientists say that they will be able to closely monitor the asteroid’s orbit next year and again in 2016. NASA is predicting that the odds of impact will significantly decline as they refine the asteroid’s orbit.
The odds are expected to drop to zero as more observation is conducted. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space may even use the asteroid as a sort of exercise to determine what we would do in the event that an asteroid is found to be coming directly at Earth. As of now 2011 AG5 isn’t being considered much of a threat.
“We have a good opportunity to observe it next year and again in 2016,” said Donald Yoemans, who heads the program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We fully expect that the odds will go way down, most likely to zero, by then.”
[via ABC News]