Dec
21
2007

Asteroid could hit Mars

Mars: Is the Red Planet on a collision course with an asteroid?
Mars: Is the Red Planet on a collision course with an asteroid?Courtesy NASA
The planet Mars may be in for a collision from an asteroid headed its way. Scientists from NASA have been tracking the 160-foot-wide asteroid for some time now, and say the odds of it hitting the Red Planet are about 1 in 75. Back in 1908, Earth was hit by a similar asteroid, near Tunguska, Siberia. That impact flattened millions of trees and is thought to have left a crater that is now a lake.

I remember the excitement I felt peering through my brother's telescope and seeing the effects of the Shoemaker-Levy comet when it collided with Jupiter back in July of 1994. You could just make out some of the dark holes punched into Jupiter's surface from the comet fragments. Very exciting considering we were witnessing it from over half a billion miles away.

The view of this possible impact could even be better. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, currently mapping the Martian surface, could capture a the best view of such an event - unless by chance this thing impacts in range of the cameras of one of the two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, currently exploring the planet's environs.

If a collision does take place, it's expected to happen on January 30, 2008, which by the way is my birthday. What a great present that would be!

MORE INFO
Associated Press story

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Joe's picture
Joe says:

This would be awesome. Man, I didn't know about the 1908 impact either - that's really cool.

posted on Sat, 12/22/2007 - 1:26pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Fresh data suggest that the odds for the impact are now something like 1 in 25!

posted on Fri, 12/28/2007 - 1:14pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Here's a report from NASA.

posted on Wed, 01/02/2008 - 6:48pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

I like that.

posted on Fri, 12/28/2007 - 9:31pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The odds have been revised downward to something like 1 in 10,000.

posted on Sat, 01/12/2008 - 10:23am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I like those odds.
I'll bet $1 that it hits. Anyone?

I suppose it's for the best if the asteroid doesn't hit (except that I might lose a dollar) - just imagine the damage it would do to all that architecture

posted on Sat, 01/12/2008 - 3:47pm
mdr's picture
mdr says:

I'll take that bet. But I only owe you a dollar if it hits. If it doesn't, you owe me a dollar.

posted on Sat, 01/12/2008 - 4:06pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

That's not how odds work!

Even so, a dollar now feels a little rich for my blood. I'm reducing my bet to 1/100 of a cent.

posted on Sat, 01/12/2008 - 4:38pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

yeah i totally agree. mars rules! whoooooooo

posted on Sat, 01/12/2008 - 7:28pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

I want it to hit. I suppose, though, somewhere there was some folks like us hoping an asteroid would hit Earth, and the dinosaurs are probably still a little miffed about that.

posted on Tue, 01/15/2008 - 4:09pm

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