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Topic: Torino Impact Hazard Scale

Asteroid 2011 AG5 – A Reality Check

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Asteroid 2011 AG5 has been receiving a lot of attention lately because of a very unlikely scenario which would place it on an Earth-interception course 28 years from now.  Here is a scientific reality check of this relatively nondescript space rock which is currently ranked a “1” on the 1 to 10 Torino Impact Hazard Scale

As of February 26th, 2012, asteroid 2011 AG5 is one of 8,744 near-Earth objects that have been discovered.  It is approximately 460 feet (140 meters) in size and its orbit carries it as far out as beyond Mars’ orbit and as close to the sun as halfway between Earth and Venus.  It was discovered on January 8th, 2011, by astronomers using a 60-inch Cassegrain reflector telescope located at the summit of Mount Lemmon in the Catalina Mountains north of Tucson, Arizona.

The orbit of asteroid 2011 AG5 carries it beyond the orbit of Mars and as close to the sun as halfway between Earth and Venus. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech/NEOPO)

The orbit of asteroid 2011 AG5 carries it beyond the orbit of Mars and as close to the sun as halfway between Earth and Venus. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/Caltech/NEOPO)

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