The Mayan calendar says we should have our affairs in order by December, but at least NASA is giving people more time.
The Space Administration is saying that 460-foot wide asteroid 2011 AG5 may be hitting the Earth by 2040. The odds of the asteroid hitting the United States are one in 625, though that may change with the conditions.
Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program, says the asteroid 2011 AG5 will be observable from the ground between 2013 and 2016. According to Digital Journal, Yeomans said if the probability of impact remains high after continued observations of its trajectory in space, they could begin a deflection mission to change the asteroid’s path before the 2023 keyhole.
Space.com defines a keyhole as a small area in space near the Earth through which a passing NEO's orbit might be altered because of gravitational effects, and possibly place it onto a path that would impact Earth."
ABC News reported that if the scientists had enough lead time, they could send a probe with thruster rockets or explosives, to change the asteroid’s course. They have even speculated wrapping the asteroid in reflective foil, where photons from the sun might move the asteroid away from Earth. Nuclear weapons have even entered the discussion
Asteroid 2011 AG5 was discovered in January 2011 by observers in Tucson, Arizona, according to space.com. Detlef Koschny of the European Space Agency said that scientists needed to observe one or two, full orbits of the satellite to consider it a real threat.
The asteroid that was believed to have eliminated the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was nine miles wide, according to Mail Online.