Dec 22, 2007

Asteroid to hit planet Mars

An asteroid similar to the one that flattened forests in Siberia in 1908 could plow into Mars surface next month, scientists said on Thursday. Researchers related to NASA's Near-Earth Object Program, have been tracking the asteroid since its discovery in late November.

The scientists, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La CaƱada Flintridge, said that the newly discovered asteroid known as 2007 WD5 has a one in 75 chance of colliding with the planet on January 30.

If 2007 WD5, which is about 100 metres in diameter, does strike Mars on January 30, it would cause an explosion equivalent to several megatonnes of TNT.

The asteroid would probably hit a spot near the Martian equator, close to the point where Nasa's Opportunity rover has been exploring since 2004.


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