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NASA confirms asteroid will miss Earth

Monday 24 Dec 2012 1:40 p.m.

2011 AG5, as photographed by the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii

2011 AG5, as photographed by the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii

An asteroid 140m across feared to be on a collision course with Earth will miss, NASA has confirmed.

It was previously believed to have about a one-in-500 chance of hitting us in February, 2040.

Astronomers in Hawaii made new observations of 2011 AG5, as the asteroid is known, and say there is no chance of a collision.

"An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated," NASA said in a statement.

If it did hit the Earth, 2011 AG5 would have released 100 megatons of energy – thousands of times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II, and twice as powerful as Tsar Bomba, the most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated.

2011 AG5 will miss Earth by around 890,000km, more than twice the distance from here to the Moon.

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