Asteroid Won't Slam Into Mars After All

Disappointed scientists were hoping to study collision
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2008 4:24 AM CST
This undated image provided by NASA Jan. 23, 2006 shows a false-color image taken by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's camera showing the dune crests in the Endurance Crater. Scientists have...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – An asteroid heading toward Mars won't crash into it after all, according to disappointed scientists. They had initially calculated there was a 1-in-27 chance of the space rock hitting the red planet, but after new observations researchers estimate the odds are only 1 in 10,000, "effectively ruling out the possible collision," according to the latest report.

Researchers had been hoping for a collision so that satellites already orbiting Mars could collect data on the impact. Asteroid 2007 WD5 has been under observation by NASA's Near Earth Object division because its orbit takes it close enough to Earth to pose a threat of collision—although scientists now say there is "no possibility" of that in the next 100 years.