NASA says this asteroid has a ‘very small’ chance of ruining Valentine’s Day in 2046

(ORDO NEWS) — According to experts, the newly discovered asteroid called 2023 DW is worth keeping an eye on. A rock nearly 50 meters (164 feet) in diameter has a chance of colliding with Earth on February 14, 2046.

True, this chance is currently assessed by NASA as “very small” at about 1 in 625 (or 0.16 percent) ESA. You can interpret these chances and react to them as you see fit, but we won’t move into the underground bunker just yet.

The asteroid ranks 1st on the Turin scale used to rate these objects. , so it’s just above zero and far from the top score of 10. You need to reach level 3 to have a 1 percent chance of localized destruction, and that’s far from a catastrophic, civilization-threatening certainty. level 10.

By comparison, an asteroid of similar size caused the Tunguska event in 1908. This asteroid exploded before hitting the ground, but flattened about 80 million trees in an area of ​​2,150 square kilometers (830 square miles).

This area is almost as large as Cape Town, although the affected region was virtually deserted at the time.

However, it is very difficult to compare. The consequences of any potential impact will depend on factors such as the speed of the asteroid, the angle of incidence, and the composition of the asteroid itself, which are currently unknown.

What we do know is that DW 2023 is now about 0.14 astronomical units (AU) from Earth, roughly equivalent to 21 million kilometers or 13 million miles. It is moving at 24.63 km/s (that’s a constant speed of 55,095 miles per hour).

The asteroid was discovered on February 26 and takes 271 days to complete one orbit around the sun. You can see its movement in real time compared to the rest of the solar system through NASA’s rather impressive Eyes On Asteroids tracker site.

Its name, by the way, indicates when it was discovered – starting in 2023. The letter “D” indicates that it was found in the second half of February, and then additional letters are added as new asteroids are added to the records.

At the moment, this tracker shows that DW 2023 is about 1.8 million kilometers (1.1 million miles) behind Earth – hence a 1 in 625 chance – but these estimates will of course be refined in the coming years.

“Often when new objects are discovered for the first time, several weeks of data are required to reduce uncertainty and adequately predict their orbits years into the future,” NASA said in a statement. “Orbital analysts will continue to monitor asteroid 2023 DW and update forecasts as new data becomes available.

The Planetary Defense Coordinating Office will decide if any action needs to be taken, and if so, when. this may include the deployment of the recently tested Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) impactor.

As for the most famous asteroid impact of all time, the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, this object is believed to have been around 200 times larger than DW 2023. There’s a very good chance we don’t have to worry about the same fate for now.


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