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ASTEROID KIND

Click here for larger picture of ASTEROID science fiction movie advertisement.

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DISCUSSION

In March of 1998, newspapers reported the potential collision of Earth with a mile-wide asteroid in the year 2028. Quickly, Earth's astronomers evaluated the reported claims. Using calculations from astronomical pictures, they demonstrated the passing of the asteroid will be at approximately 600,000 miles from Earth. Collisions of Earth with comets, asteroids, and large meteoroids have long been a fertile source of science fiction drama. Indeed, such an encounter would cause devastating damage to our planet. However, the Earth's spacefaring nations have the abililty to rocket disintegrating missiles into such bodies hurling toward Earth. This is comforting for those of us who call Earth home. The following news release shortly followed the report of the predicted asteroid collision of the year 2028:

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MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 12, 1998

ASTEROID WILL MISS EARTH BY "COMFORTABLE DISTANCE" IN 2028


Asteroid 1997 XF11 will pass well beyond the Moon's distance from Earth in October 2028 with a zero probability of impacting the planet, according to astronomers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.

The asteroid "is predicted to pass at a rather comforable distance of about 600,000 miles (about 960,000 kilometers) in 2028," reported Dr. Donald K. Yeomans and Dr. Paul W. Chodas, JPL scientists who specialize in computing the predicted orbits of comets, asteroids, planets and other bodies in the solar system.

Data on the asteroid from March 1990 (well before its discovery in December 1997) was integrated into the orbit calculations by Yeomans and Chodas to arrive at the distance the asteroid will pass Earth. The 1990 observations of the object were found today in the Palomar Planet Crossing Asteroid Survey conducted at Caltech's Palomar Observatory, by JPL's Eleanor Helin and Ken Lawrence and by Brian Roman, formerly of JPL.

Even prior to the discovery of the earlier Palomar observations, however, Yeomans and Chodas had determined that the impact probability would be zero. The new calculations further underscore that conclusion, they said.

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.



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