End of the World. The asteroid that could destroy the Earth is called 2011 AG5. Now, a new study says the the potential impact is insignificant.
The asteroid is called 2011 AG5 and it’s really big: 140 meters in diameter (about the size of two football fields) and until now, it was considered a possible threat to our Earth. Because the possibility that the rock collided with our planet in 2040 was, according to scientists, one in 500, high enough to keep us alert. However, new observations with the Gemini North telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, can pluck a sigh of relief. In the new work, the potential impact is insignificant.
Statistically, a body of that size could impact Earth every 10,000 years on average. 2011 AG5 was originally discovered in January 2011 by observers of Mount Lemmon Survey in Tucson, Arizona. If the asteroid will hit our Earth, it would release about 100 megatons of energy, a power several thousand times greater than the atomic bombs that ended World War II. Scientists have been even argued that, if necessary, a mission could be sent to alter the course of the asteroid.
Fortunately, the new studies have reduced the danger of 2011 AG5 and, what is more important, the study has shown that our astronomers are well prepared to detect and predict the trajectories of asteroids that could threaten the Earth in the future.
Good news to finish a bad year and start optimistically the next one!
**Asteroid definition: any of numerous little celestial bodies that revolve around the Sun, with orbits lying mainly between Mars and Jupiter and characteristic diameters between a few and several hundred kilometers. Also called minor planet or planetoid.
Asteroids are thought to be left over from the premature formation of the Solar System, when planetesimals in were dispersed after coming under Jupiter gravitational influence. The permanent collision of planetesimals that remained between Jupiter and Mars caused many of them to fragment, creating the asteroids that exist today.