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New Observations Slightly Decrease Mars Impact Probability

Updated Uncertainty Region for 2007 WD5 at encounter with Mars, shown as white dots. 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. Note that the scale is considerably finer than it has been in past diagrams.
by Don Yeomans, Paul Chodas and Steve Chesley
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jan 03, 2008
Additional position observations for asteroid 2007 WD5 taken on December 29 through January 2 have been used to improve the accuracy of the asteroid's orbit.

As a result, the range of possible paths past Mars has narrowed by a factor of 3 and the most likely path has moved a little farther away from the planet, causing the Mars impact probability to decrease slightly to 3.6% (about one chance in 28).

The new positional observations were made using the 2.4 meter telescope at New Mexico Tech's Magdalena Ridge Observatory and reported by astronomer Bill Ryan.

It seems likely that as additional observations further shrink the uncertainty region of this asteroid, the region will no longer intersect Mars and the impact probability will quickly drop to zero.

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Catalina Sky Survey Rocks Mars With New Asteroid Discovery
Tucson AZ (SPX) Dec 24, 2007
An asteroid discovered by The University of Arizona's Catalina Sky Survey has a one-in-75 chance of hitting Mars Jan. 30, scientists tracking it say. Catalina Sky Survey team member Andrea Boattini discovered the asteroid, designated 2007 WD5, with UA's Mount Lemmon 60-inch telescope in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson on Nov. 20.

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