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". ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that STINK? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.