Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mars lining up for impact in 2008

A 100-meter wide asteroid with the destructive potential of the infamous 1908 Tunguska impact has been detected on a possible collision course with Mars. The odds are 75 to 1 that the asteroid, designated 2007 WD5, will hit Mars by January 30th, but on cosmic terms, this adds up to an incredibly close shave for the Red Planet. If it does hit, the impact will be barely visible from Earth even through powerful telescopes, but several orbiting probes may well be able to see something when it slams into an area near Martian equator. Rather worryingly, the impact is likely to be close by Nasa's long lived Opportunity rover.