Thursday, January 3, 2008

Will Asteroid 2007 WD5 hit Mars?

As you reading these lines, 2007 WD5 – asteroid 50 m (160 ft) in diameter, is speeding towards Mars at over 30,000 miles an hour. There is about 4% chance of 2007 WD5 smashing into the red planer on January 30, 2008. Whether the asteroid will actually hit Mars or not is still uncertain. Unfortunately, even if it does happen, don’t expect to see celestial fireworks. The impact would not be observable from Earth and would produce an explosion equivalent to about 3 megatons of TNT. It is expected that the impact would result in a crater approximately 0.8 km (0.5 mi) in diameter.

NASA Animation showing the motion of the uncertainty region of 2007 WD5 as it approaches Mars. 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. orbital data as known on December 21, 2007 (Wikipedia). More on 2007 WD5.

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