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Possible Mars Impact Highlights Risk To Earth
New Scientist ^ | 1-4-2007 | David Shiga

Posted on 01/03/2008 4:38:58 PM PST by blam

Possible Mars impact highlights risk to Earth

00:01 04 January 2008
NewScientist.com news service
David Shiga

Asteroid 2007 WD5's orbit takes it from just outside Earth's orbit through Mars's orbit to the asteroid belt (Illustration: JPL/NASA)Tools

An asteroid hurtling towards Mars has a 1 in 28 chance of walloping the Red Planet, according to the latest calculations.

The rock's discovery just a couple of months before a possible impact begs the question of what would happen if it were instead headed for Earth – the only option, astronomers say, would be to evacuate any inhabited areas it might hit.

The asteroid, called 2007 WD5, was discovered on 20 November by a 1.5 metre telescope near Tucson, Arizona, US, that combs the skies as part of NASA's efforts to detect asteroids with a chance of hitting Earth.

It is an estimated 50 metres across, putting it in the same class as the Tunguska object that exploded over Siberia in 1908, flattening trees in an area extending many kilometres from the explosion.

Early calculations gave the asteroid a 1 in 75 chance of striking Mars on 30 January 2008.

Then, additional observations of the asteroid on 8 November were found in archival images from the 2.5-metre telescope at the Apache Point Observatory near Cloudcroft, New Mexico, US. As a result, NASA's Near Earth Object Program, based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, US, reported on 28 December that the impact probability had increased to 3.9%, or about 1 in 20.

Temporary increase

But new observations taken between 29 December and 2 January using a 2.4-metre telescope at the Magdalena Ridge Observatory in New Mexico have revised the probability again, slightly lowering it to 3.6%, or about 1 in 28.

(Excerpt) Read more at space.newscientist.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; earth; impact; mars; risk
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1 posted on 01/03/2008 4:39:00 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

1 in 28? It was 1 in 25 last week...


2 posted on 01/03/2008 4:40:14 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: blam

Still got my fingers crossed. (for a mars impact)


3 posted on 01/03/2008 4:40:27 PM PST by cripplecreek (Only one consistent conservative in this race and his name is Hunter.)
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To: blam

4 posted on 01/03/2008 4:40:29 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

One of those “sooner or later” things. Just like global warming and global cooling.


5 posted on 01/03/2008 4:40:47 PM PST by Sacajaweau ("The Cracker" will be renamed "The Crapper")
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To: SunkenCiv; Jet Jaguar
New Observations Slightly Decrease Mars Impact Probability
6 posted on 01/03/2008 4:41:58 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam
evacuate any inhabited areas it might hit

I suppose Chinese Fire Drills aren't like they used to be in the old silent movies, but this would be a lot like that.

7 posted on 01/03/2008 4:42:03 PM PST by RightWhale (Dean Koonz is good, but my favorite authors are Dun and Bradstreet)
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To: cripplecreek

Hope the Rovers don’t go the way of the dinosaurs . They should be able to get pictures if it hits in their vicinity .


8 posted on 01/03/2008 4:45:15 PM PST by Renegade (You go tell my buddies)
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To: Jet Jaguar

The error radius will decrease in the days ahead but the center of most likely path will be about where it is now and the radius will not include Mars so the probability will go to zero.


9 posted on 01/03/2008 4:45:31 PM PST by RightWhale (Dean Koonz is good, but my favorite authors are Dun and Bradstreet)
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To: RightWhale

BUSH’S FAULT!!!

You guys are getting slow.

MARTIAN WOMEN AND MINORITIES HARDEST HIT!!!

Real slow.


10 posted on 01/03/2008 4:46:13 PM PST by JusPasenThru (Just another angry military veteran.)
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To: Sacajaweau

Yep:

Could be, perhaps, maybe, could happen, sooner or later, possibility … science at its best. ;-)


11 posted on 01/03/2008 4:46:13 PM PST by doc1019 (Rabbit and the Hare Fred 08)
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To: RightWhale

Maybe New Orleans will get a 2nd chance to do it right.


12 posted on 01/03/2008 4:46:30 PM PST by Rb ver. 2.0 (Global warming is the new Marxism.)
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To: RightWhale; blam

Thanks.


13 posted on 01/03/2008 4:46:41 PM PST by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: RightWhale

Killjoy.


14 posted on 01/03/2008 4:47:16 PM PST by null and void (To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth. - M203M4)
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To: blam

Life on Mars will not be the same.


15 posted on 01/03/2008 4:47:26 PM PST by Always Right
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To: blam

Thing that freaks me out is this thing is only 150 feet wide, but could flatten a city. It’s almost “unfair” that due to the speeds one of these things doesnt have to be very big to wipe us out. A mile wide would be enough to mess up the planet. And if it’s several miles wide we are cooked.

I wonder why do they say the only option would be to evacuate? Why couldn’t we try to alter the course of a 50 meter wide rock?


16 posted on 01/03/2008 4:49:41 PM PST by Williams
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To: blam

Of course there is a greater risk for the Earth (than for Mars), we are a bigger target.


17 posted on 01/03/2008 4:50:09 PM PST by reg45
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To: Williams

This is one of my favorite themes which I will not go into at this time, but we could capture such an asteroid and park it for later possible use for something else.


18 posted on 01/03/2008 4:51:33 PM PST by RightWhale (Dean Koonz is good, but my favorite authors are Dun and Bradstreet)
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To: null and void

It would be utmost kool if it hit, but it looks like a miss.


19 posted on 01/03/2008 4:52:44 PM PST by RightWhale (Dean Koonz is good, but my favorite authors are Dun and Bradstreet)
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To: RightWhale
Airborne astronomers to track intense meteor shower

TONIGHT!!

20 posted on 01/03/2008 4:53:34 PM PST by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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