Not another one – call Bruce Willis & Ben Affleck! Scientists have detected a comet 140 meters in diameter that is due for a fly-by in 2040. There is an outside chance that it could collide with Earth. Doomsday Sayers & religious fundamentalists now have a new year to predict the destruction of earth.
The giant rock, which is called 2011 AG5 & is about 460 feet (140 meters) wide, has an elliptical orbit that will bring it within striking distance of our planet in 23 years. According to researchers the comet could be diverted towards Earth by a gravitational keyhole – an area of space subject to the gravitational pull of surrounding planets. Detlef Koschny of the European Space Agency’s Solar System Missions Division says that since they have only observed it for about half of it’s orbit, they aren’t very confident of the calculations.
NASA has calculated that AG5 has a one in 625 chance of striking Earth in 2040. Scientists at the 49th session of the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in Vienna are taking the threat in all earnest and have even begun to draw up possible deflection scenarios. They are using comet AG5 as a “desktop exercise” for the development of technologies to deflect asteroids and meteorites that stray too close to our planet. It is thought scientists will be able to better gauge the course of the comet in 2013 as it will be observable from the ground, but until then they will be keeping a close eye on the celestial giant.
I will be 64 years old in 2040 (When I’m 64 by the Beatles, ring any bells?)
When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now.
Will you still be sending me a Valentine.
Birthday greetings bottle of wine.
If I’d been out till quarter to three.
Would you lock the door.
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I’m sixty-four.