The apocalypse didn’t hit on Dec. 21 like the Mayans predicted, and it won’t hit us in 2040 either. NASA has confirmed that asteroid 2011 AG5 will pass by Earth when it comes our direction in 28 years.
“An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated,” NASA says in a statement.
Scientists first noticed asteroid 2011 AG5 in 2011, and at the time they said it had a one in 500 chance of hitting Earth. Fortunately those odds are a bit better now, as researchers say it shouldn’t get within 550,000 miles of our planet. For some context, that’s about twice the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
“These were extremely difficult observations of a very faint object,” asteroid research team member Richard Wainscoat says in a statement. “We were surprised by how easily the Gemini telescope was able to recover such a faint asteroid so low in the sky.”
Initially NASA had said that there was less than a 1 percent chance 2011 AG5 would hit our planet in February 2040. Wainscoat and the rest of his team used the Gemini 8-meter telescope for several days in October to determine that the asteroid’s path would take it safely away from Earth.
This isn’t the first time we’ve had a close call recently. Asteroid 2012 XE54 and asteroid 4179 Toutatis both passed by Earth in December, but not without giving scientists a reason for fright.