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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.

For more information, please visit the Asteroid 1997 XF11 web page at: http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/ca_97xf11.html

JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.


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