Just as we avoided the Mayan apocalypse, now another potential end-of-the-world scenario is in the news. This time our potential doom comes in the form of an asteroid that was originally thought to be on a collision course for Earth in 2040. Have no fear: NASA scientists now insist that we shouldn’t worry about Armageddon… for now.
This past January, NASA discovered the asteroid called “2011 AG.” The 460-foot wide asteroid was classified as a Near-Earth Object (NEO), and there was a possibility that the Earth could be in its crosshairs for a collision in the year 2040. Thankfully, the asteroid’s trajectory has changed, and NASA says we can all go ahead and order our 2041 calendars after all:
The risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated [because] the Earth’s position in February 2040 no longer falls within the range of possible future paths.
Well, that’s one less thing to worry about. NASA still believes the asteroid will make a close pass by the Earth, but it will not get close enough to actually hit us. 2011 AG had to pass through a “keyhole” in space that would increase the rock’s likelihood of smacking into our planet. Since it will not pass through this “keyhole,” the chances of 2011 AG hitting us have been reduced to less than 0.2%.
If the asteroid was on a clear pathway for Earth, NASA had proposed fail safes and plans to divert the asteroid that somewhat resembled the movie Armageddon. This would’ve included launching something called “a kinetic-impactor spacecraft” that would hit the asteroid with enough mass and velocity to change its course, thus theoretically saving the world from certain doom. Then again, do you really want to live in a world where we all owe our lives to Michael Bay?