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Saturday, December 22, 2007

If Only Dinosaurs Were On Mars!

I found this at Futurismic and thought I'd share my excitement.

Apparently an asteroid may strike Mars in January! Why is this a big deal? Well, remember the dinosaurs? Remember when scientists told us they probably died from a big impact from an asteroid or comet? Well, here's a great chance for us to watch a large object strike a terrestrial planet! I'm hoping it will happen because this could bring about a whole slue of interesting images or videos--even more interesting than the Shoemaker-Levy 9 images here, here, and here. We might actually get to witness a significant impact on a relatively Earth-like planet (Mars is semi-Earthish, though it lacks liquid water and it is a bit different, but we could expect to gather quite a lot of info from this little red guy). You can read a bit more about the impact at this NASA article.
Asteroid 2007 WD5 isn't a very big fella (about 50 meters or 164 feet), but for a small planet like Mars it shouldn't matter. It'll still do a good bit of damage and leave us enjoying every second of it:
We estimate such impacts occur on Mars every thousand years or so," said Steve Chesley, a scientist at JPL. "If 2007 WD5 were to thump Mars on Jan. 30, we calculate it would hit at about 30,000 miles per hour and might create a crater more than half-a-mile wide.
It's a 1 in 75 chance. Those aren't bad odds when you think about it.

(Don't click the read more, there isn't any more after this!)

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