A week ago I told you about a small asteroid with roughly a 1% (1-in-75) chance of hitting Mars late next month.Well, the odds of an impact have just gone up!
Earlier today dynamicists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that 2007 WD5 now has a 1-in-25 chance (4%) of striking the Red Planet. They've adjusted the prediction based on the asteroid's serendipitous appearance in three images made November 8th, nearly two weeks before its discovery by the Catalina Sky Survey team on Mount Lemmon in Arizona.
Most likely, 2007 WD5 will miss Mars by about 15,000 miles. But if it should strike, it will do so at about 8½ miles per second on January 30th, within a few minutes of 5:56 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
No observations of the little asteroid have been acquired since December 19th, though new images and a much better prediction should be made within the next few days.