Feeds

NASA tweaks killer asteroid's trajectory of death

Bruce Willis can stand down, agency confirms

Intelligent flash storage arrays

NASA has recalculated the trajectory of asteroid Apophis and concluded that Bruce Willis can stand down from a state of doom-body-busting readiness.

Apophis - agreeably described by the agency as "approximately the size of two-and-a-half football fields"* - has got a lot of press since its discovery in 2004, when it was calculated that there was a real, if relatively remote, possibility it might collide with Earth in 2029 or 2036.

Mercifully, a 2029 pile-up has already been ruled out, and near-Earth object scientists Steve Chesley and Paul Chodas at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have now done more sums on Apophis' trajectory, considerably widening the odds that we're all going to die in 2036.

Chesley said: "Updated computational techniques and newly available data indicate the probability of an Earth encounter on April 13, 2036, for Apophis has dropped from one-in-45,000 to about four-in-a million."

The pair got the majority of their new data from Dave Tholen and chums at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy in Manoa. Tholen scanned "hundreds of previously unreleased images of the night sky" captured by the observatory's 88-inch telescope and made "improved measurements of the asteroid's position in the images".

Chesley and Chodas's other findings are that there's "another close encounter by the asteroid with Earth in 2068 with chance of impact currently at approximately three-in-a-million, although "it is expected that the 2068 encounter will diminish in probability as more information about Apophis is acquired".

Note

* Its estimated length is around 350 metres.

Bootnote

During Apophis's 2029 fly-by it will pass "no closer than 18,300 miles above Earth's surface". NASA tempts fate by describing this as a "record-setting - but harmless - close approach to Earth". ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.