The US space agency's Near Earth Object Program (NEOP) revealed that the asteroid's exact course was difficult to predict, but said it could slam into Mars on January 30, leaving a crater measuring an estimated 1 kilometer across.Source: AFP
If the asteroid, which has been named 2007 WD5, missed Mars as expected it could return to swing past Earth years or decades later, but there was no indication of a threat to the planet, scientists said.
A collision with Mars would be likely to send an enormous dust cloud into the planet's atmosphere.
The exact path of the asteroid, which was discovered in November by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Arizona, was becoming increasingly difficult to observe because it was receding from the Earth, scientists said.
The asteroid, believed to measure around 50 meters (160 feet) across, had already passed within 7.5 million kilometers (5 million miles) of Earth in early November.
Mars to be hit by asteroid next month?
Posted on Monday, Dec 24 2007 @ 01:15 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck