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Mars could be hit by asteroid next month

Scientists say there is a one-in-75 chance a significant asteroid could crash into Mars on January 30, reports AFP:


An asteroid hurtling towards Mars has a one in 75 chance of chance of scoring a direct hit on the red planet next month, NASA experts said in a statement Friday.

The US space agency's Near Earth Object Program (NEOP) revealed that the asteroid's exact course was difficult to predict, but said it could slam into Mars on January 30, leaving a crater measuring an estimated 1 kilometer across.

If the asteroid, which has been named 2007 WD5, missed Mars as expected it could return to swing past Earth years or decades later, but there was no indication of a threat to the planet, scientists said.

A collision with Mars would be likely to send an enormous dust cloud into the planet's atmosphere.

The exact path of the asteroid, which was discovered in November by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, was becoming increasingly difficult to observe because it was receding from the Earth, scientists said.

The asteroid, believed to measure around 50 meters (160 feet) across, had already passed within 7.5 million kilometers (5 million miles) of Earth in early November.


Read the rest at the link above. If it hits, there is a good chance our orbiter and at least one of the rovers may have a ringside seat.

Thanks to reader nogo postal for pointing out this story.


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Comments (16)

Thanks to reader nogo po... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Thanks to reader nogo postal for pointing out this story.

Un-shocking update line of the year.

I'm sure his tinfoil hate picked up the asteroid....

hate...hat....what... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

hate...hat....

whatever...

If Bush had paid more atten... (Below threshold)
The Listkeeper:

If Bush had paid more attention to Global Warming, this wouldn't be happening!

Asteroid? Or giant, inte... (Below threshold)

Asteroid? Or giant, interplanetary SUV!!!???

Won't this screw up some ho... (Below threshold)

Won't this screw up some horoscopes?

"Won't this screw up some h... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

"Won't this screw up some horoscopes?"

Not nearly as badly as it screws up what the asteroid lands on. . .

Now if the asteroid turned ... (Below threshold)
LaMedusa:

Now if the asteroid turned out to be that Divine Escape Pod that could rescue us from climate change, I'd be really alarmed at missing this chance by a few decades. I would make the trip to Griffith Observatory just to see it not happen.

Where's Marshall Herff Appl... (Below threshold)
ijosha:

Where's Marshall Herff Applewhite when you really need him?

Damn!Here comes an... (Below threshold)
marc:

Damn!

Here comes another Gov bailout for people whose homes are damaged by natural disasters!

Kucinich, Sheehan, Paul and the rest... WHY!

Maybe Bush can pretend it a... (Below threshold)
jim:

Maybe Bush can pretend it away.

Maybe DU and Kos can blame ... (Below threshold)

Maybe DU and Kos can blame it on Bush.

Because things, like, just never happen...

I question the timing.... (Below threshold)

I question the timing.

Its Bushes Asteroid control... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Its Bushes Asteroid control machine, the Katrina Mark II. This is just target practice.

Why dont MARVIN THE MARTIAN... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Why dont MARVIN THE MARTIAN and K-9 use their ELUDIUM Q-36 EXPLOSIVE SPACE MODULATOR and BLOW UP THE ASTROID

[ after the asteroid smashe... (Below threshold)
DJ Drummond:

[ after the asteroid smashes into Mars ]

"That was a warning. Leave now, or we shall taunt you a second time, you silly English Knnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnniggits!"

Women and minorities hardes... (Below threshold)
DocRoch:

Women and minorities hardest hit.




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