So the world didn’t end this past week after all, and here’s some more disappointing news for apocalypse-watchers: New information on Asteroid 2011 AG5 now rules it out as a threat to Earth in 2040, when it is widely expected to come close to our planet, CNN reports.
NASA said on Friday new analysis from the agency’s Near-Earth Object Program Office in Pasadena, Calif., shows “the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated.” New observations of the asteroid’s trajectory show “the Earth’s position in February 2040 no longer falls within the range of possible future paths.”
In other words, “all clear.”
Since it was discovered in January 2011, observers have kept a close eye on the gigantic asteroid, and discussions even began on how it might be deflected should Earth fall in its path.
“Observations to date indicate there is a slight chance that AG5 could impact Earth in 2040,” NASA wrote in a statement in June.
Some found that statement and others about the asteroid alarming, even though the risk was considered low. AG5 garnered significant attention in 2012, and even led to the creation of a parody Twitter account, @2040asteroid.
University of Hawaii at Manoa astronomers helped rule out the asteroid’s threat, Discovery reports, working with NASA’s Pasadena office to analyze its trajectory.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has previously said that Asteroid 2011 AG5 was “high on NASA’s list of NEOs to monitor for impact hazard potential,” adding “we take these duties very seriously.”