in 2011 scientists caught a glimpse of Asteroid 2011 AG5, a giant space rock which is about 460 feet wide. Scientists are saying that it may impact Earth in 2040 and there are already talks about how to deflect it.
The asteroid was high on the agenda during the 49th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) which took place in Vienna earlier this year.
The object was discovered in January 2011 by Mount Lemmon Survey observers in Tucson, Arizona. Scientists have said they have a real good idea of the rock’s size but have no idea about its density or mass, which are both huge questions to be answered if there is to be a plan on how to deal with it.
Detlef Koschny of the European Space Agency’s Solar System Missions Division in Noordwijk, The Netherlands said to Space.com,
“2011 AG5 is the object which currently has the highest chance of impacting the Earth … in 2040. However, we have only observed it for about half an orbit, thus the confidence in these calculations is still not very high,” In our Action Team 14 discussions, we thus concluded that it not necessarily can be called a ‘real’ threat. To do that, ideally, we should have at least one, if not two, full orbits observed,”
“We are currently also in the process of making institutions like the European Southern Observatory aware of this object,” Koschny said. “We hope to make the point that this object deserves the allocation of some special telescope time.”
The near-Earth asteroid 2011 AG5 currently has an impact probability of 1 in 625 for Feb. 5, 2040, said Donald Yeomans, head of the Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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