12 March 1998 JPL Press Release

(see also JPL site)



MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE

JET PROPULSION LABORATORY

CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

PASADENA, CALIF. 91109. TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Image] March 12, 1998



ASTEROID WILL MISS EARTH BY "COMFORTABLE DISTANCE" IN 2028



Asteroid 1997 XF11 will pass well beyond the Moon's distance from

Earth in October 2028 with a zero probability of impacting the planet,

according to astronomers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA.



The asteroid "is predicted to pass at a rather comforable distance

of about 600,000 miles (about 960,000 kilometers) in 2028," reported Dr.

Donald K. Yeomans and Dr. Paul W. Chodas, JPL scientists who specialize in

computing the predicted orbits of comets, asteroids, planets and other

bodies in the solar system.



Data on the asteroid from March 1990 (well before its discovery in

December 1997) was integrated into the orbit calculations by Yeomans and

Chodas to arrive at the distance the asteroid will pass Earth. The 1990

observations of the object were found today in the Palomar Planet Crossing

Asteroid Survey conducted at Caltech's Palomar Observatory, by JPL's

Eleanor Helin and Ken Lawrence and by Brian Roman, formerly of JPL.



Even prior to the discovery of the earlier Palomar observations,

however, Yeomans and Chodas had determined that the impact probability

would be zero. The new calculations further underscore that conclusion,

they said.



JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.



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MBM 3/12/98

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