This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

09 January 2008

Chance of 2007 WD5 Hitting Mars Reduced

Updated Uncertainty Region for 2007 WD5 at encounter with Mars, shown as white dots. The thin white line is the orbit of Mars. The blue line traces the motion of the center of the uncertainty region, which is the most likely position of the asteroid.

From the NASA JPL NEO site...

We have updated the orbit of 2007 WD5 using new observations from the 3.5-meter telescope at the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain. This update also incorporates refinements to the Sloan precovery observations mentioned previously. While the best estimate of close approach distance remains steady at about 30,000 km, the uncertainty in position at the close approach has decreased by a factor of three. As a result, the impact probability estimate has fallen to 2.5%, or 1-in-40 odds. If the estimated miss distance remains stable in future updates, the impact probability will continue to fall as continuing observations further constrain the uncertainties.

Link: NASA JPL NEO Site Story

From the article...

The space rock, an asteroid called 2007 WD5, is now expected to miss Mars by about 18,641 miles (30,000 km), according a Tuesday report by NASA's Near Earth-Object (NEO) program office.

Scientists now estimate the space rock's odds of walloping Mars on Jan. 30 at 2.5 percent, about a 1-in-40 chance, after a series of observations taken by astronomers using Spain's 11.5-foot (3.5-meter) Calar Alto Observatory. The new analysis lowered the asteroid's odds of a martian impact from a 3.6 percent chance released last week.

"Asteroid's Chances of Smacking Mars Dip"
08 January 2008
Tariq Malik
08 January 2008

Link: article

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