Valentine’s day 2046 could have quite the attraction, according to a risk list that is managed by the European Space Agency’s Near Earth Objects Coordination Center. That’s because a newly discovered asteroid has a small chance of colliding with Earth that day. The asteroid, 2023DW, has a 1-in-625 chance of impacting our planet.
While a 1-in-625 chance doesn’t seem likely, astronomers consider it a relativity high risk of impact. There is much we do not know about the newly discovered asteroid, including its exact size. Astronomers believe the asteroid is around the size of an Olympic pool, roughly 50 meters (164 feet) long. It would do some serious damage if an asteroid this large collided with Earth.
We’ve been tracking a new asteroid named 2023 DW that has a very small chance of impacting Earth in 2046. Often when new objects are first discovered, it takes several weeks of data to reduce the uncertainties and adequately predict their orbits years into the future. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/SaLC0AUSdP
— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) March 7, 2023
However, the asteroid’s exact shape is unknown, and with the possible impact date being so far away, it’s likely that better calculations of its orbit could see it passing closely to Earth instead of impacting it. Still, it’s good to know that astronomers are watching these things, especially with planet-killer asteroids capable of colliding with Earth and destroying civilization lurking out there.
There is a high chance that its orbiting will be better predicted. In the initial weeks following the discovery of an object new to science, observations and calculations are used to narrow down the information. In this case, scientists are working to determine how big the asteroid is, whether its orbit will cause it to collide with Earth, or if it will pass safely past us.
It can take many weeks to gather all the data. And, even then, it’s likely that additional observations will yield more data. In the case of 2023DW, the asteroid isn’t big enough to collide with Earth and cause catastrophic damage. If it were, NASA or other agencies could use systems like the DART spacecraft to change the orbit slightly, stopping the asteroid from colliding with Earth.
The post A newly discovered asteroid could collide with Earth in 2046 appeared first on BGR.