An asteroid, which is estimated to be as big as an Olympic swimming pool, may crash into Earth on Valentine’s Day in 2046, NASA scientists have predicted, reports wionews.com.
There is one in 625 chance that the asteroid, which has been named 2023 DW, may hit the Earth on February 14, 2046, the European Space Agency stated.
The asteroid, which has a 50-metre diameter, has been placed by NASA at the number one spot on the “Risk List” of the objects present in space that have more than zero probability of impacting the Earth.
2023 DW stands as the only asteroid present on the list which has a score of 1 on the Torino scale, which is used to measure the chances of the space object impacting the Earth. All other objects have 0 ratings.
Level 1 is indicative of the fact that the chances of an asteroid colliding with the earth are “extremely unlikely with no cause for public attention or public concern,” the Centre for Near Earth Object Studies stated.
It is reported that 2023 DW was first discovered on February 27, and its orbit is about 1.05 million kilometers from Earth, roughly equivalent to 2.7 times the distance of the moon, and the asteroid is expected to make a very close approach to Earth on February 14, 2046.
While an impact on 2023 DW is highly unlikely, scientists are rapidly developing ways to protect Earth from potentially dangerous asteroids like this one.
Last week, NASA scientists published four studies confirming that the agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission successfully changed the orbit of an asteroid after crashing the spacecraft directly into the asteroid.
The DART mission is a NASA defense against asteroids by altering the speed and orbit of asteroids by hitting them to avoid collisions with Earth.
Asteroid strikes on Earth are a natural phenomenon that has occurred many times in the past, such as an asteroid impact 65 million years ago that may have led to the extinction of dinosaurs.
Although 2023 DW is unlikely, it is a reminder to strengthen celestial monitoring and early warning capabilities, and to increase research into planetary defense technologies to protect the safety of Earth and people.