Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Asteroid 2011 AG5 Given A Wide Berth In 2040 Encounter
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 26, 2012

The observational data obstained in October 2012 has allowed a sixty-fold improvement in the 2040 region of uncertainty and the second plot shows that this, now much smaller, arc no long includes the Earth. Hence an Earth impact by 2011 AG5 in February 2040 is no longer possible.

NASA scientists have announced that new observations of 2011 AG5 show that this asteroid, once thought to have a worrisome potential to threaten Earth, no longer poses a significant risk of impact.

The orbital uncertainties of the 140m diameter near-Earth asteroid had previously allowed a 0.2% chance of collision in Feb. 2040, leading to a call for more observations to better constrain the asteroid's future course.

Answering the call, University of Hawaii astronomers Dave Tholen, Richard Wainscoat and Marco Micheli used the Gemini 8-meter telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii to successfully recover and observe the small and very faint asteroid on October 20, 21 and 27, 2012.

In addition to improving our knowledge of the orbit, the Gemini observations also suggest the asteroid varies in brightness as it rotates and therefore may be elongated. Gemini is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA).

In addition to the Gemini measurements, Tholen, Micheli and Garrett Elliott obtained less conclusive observations on October 9 and 10 with the University of Hawaii 2.2-meter telescope, also situated on the summit of Mauna Kea.

After extensive astrometric analysis by the team in Hawaii, all observations were then sent to the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated.

The updated trajectory of 2011 AG5 is not significantly different, but the new observations have reduced the orbit uncertainties by more than a factor of 60, meaning that the Earth's position in February 2040 no longer falls within the range of possible future paths for the asteroid.

With the updated orbit, the asteroid will pass no closer than 890,000 km (over twice the distance to the moon) in Feb. 2040, the epoch of the prior potential collision.

Earlier in 2012, NASA's NEO Program Office conducted a contingency deflection analysis for the 2040 potential impact of 2011 AG5. Among the findings was that any new observations either in 2012, or in 2013 when the object will be much easier to observe, had a 95% likelihood of eliminating the hazard posed by 2011 AG5.

If the potential for impact had been confirmed, the impact odds could have risen as high as 1 in 10, but the study released in May 2012 found that scenario to be unlikely.

While the interest in 2011 AG5 has been reduced by the new results, the experience gained by studying this potential real-world deflection problem has demonstrated that NASA is well situated to predict the trajectories of Earth threatening asteroids.


Related Links
Asteroid and Comet Impact Danger To Earth - News and Science

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Asteroids Deflected with Paint
Bethesda MD (SPX) Nov 06, 2012
Here is another one of those ideas that makes me say, "Why didn't I think of that?" Just last month a graduate student presented a paper at the International Astronautical Congress in Naples, Italy. Sung Wook Paek in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, came up with the idea of firing paint balls at an asteroid headed for a collision with Earth. This paper won the 2012 Mo ... read more

GRAIL Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride

NASA probes crash into the moon

No plans of sending an Indian on moon

Rocket Burn Sets Stage for Dynamic Moon Duos' Lunar Impact

Clays on Mars: More Plentiful Than Expected

Opportunity For Some Shoulder Workout At Copper Cliff

Enabling ChemCam to Measure Key Isotopic Ratios on Mars and Other Planets

Curiosity Rover Explores 'Yellowknife Bay'

NASA Puts Orion Backup Parachutes to the Test

White House to honor scientists, inventors

TDRS-K Arrives at Kennedy for Launch Processing

Sierra Nevada Corporation Selected by NASA to Receive Human Spaceflight Certification Products Contract

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

New ISS crew docked at Space Station

Expedition 34 Spends Christmas in Space

Three astronauts blast off for ISS in Russian craft

Soyuz rocket brings trio to space station

Ariane 5 ECA orbits Skynet 5D and Mexsat Bicentenario satellites

Payload integration complete for final 2012 Ariane 5 mission

Arctic town eyes future as Europe's gateway to space

ISRO planning 10 space missions in 2013

Closest sun-like star may have planets

Nearby star is good candidate for Earth-like planets

Venus transit and lunar mirror could help astronomers find worlds around other stars

Astronomers discover and 'weigh' infant solar system

2012: Consumer tech takes center stage

Molecular levers may make materials better

Netflix blames Amazon for Christmas Eve outage

Turbopump Bearing Blamed For Failed Russian Comsat Orbiting

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement