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An 460 foot wide asteroid is making the rounds over the Internet as a potential threat to Earth in 2040. Headlines like: "Asteroid Threat: Why do they hate us," "Asteroids facing unvarying barrage of high-speed impacts," and "Armegeddon 2040." But NASA says hold on.
Asteroid 2011 AG5 was discovered in January 2011 using a telescope at the summit of Mt. Lemon north of Tucson, Az. Currently, the asteroid cannot be tracked until 2013 due to its position in the daytime sky.
The orbit of asteroid 2011 AG5 carries it beyond the orbit of Mars to halfway between Earth and Venus. It is expected to pass no closer to Earth than 1 million miles in 2023 and 10.4 millon miles in 2028. The Earth's orbit should change it's orbit slightly giving it a super-slim chance of hitting the Earth on Feb. 5, 2040.
In this gallery, we'll look at the chances of Asteroid 2011 hitting Earth and how space agencies are tracking it.
Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech/NEOPO
Photoshop-created images like this one have spread across the Internet. NASA says the asteroid has a 1 in 650 chance to hit the Earth. Sounds possible but when you figure that's a 0.15 percentage chance.
If it does have a chance to strike Earth, potential solutions such as nuclear bombs or attaching a weight to one side of it to adjust its orbit have been proposed. Maybe we should watch Armageddon again.