News about asteroids that will pass dangerously close to Earth is often the product of biased headlines. As a rule, such a dangerous distance is perfectly safe. However, this time NASA announced that there is an asteroid that could actually hit Earth in 2046. It’s not about passing next to each other, but about colliding . It’s unlikely to happen, and due to its size, it wouldn’t mean the end of the world.
We are talking about the asteroid 2023 DW, which was discovered in February last year. NASA scientists calculated its trajectory and, unlike what happened to other near-Earth objects in recent analyses, could not rule out a collision. Its probability is low – 0.18%, but it is true. Currently, it is the only one of all monitored objects whose risk is greater than zero.
There are still 23 years left, the trajectory may change and most likely there will be no collision.
This asteroid is 47 meters wide, three times larger than the one that fell near Chelyabinsk in 2013. This impact released 30 times the energy of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, although logically it did not carry any radiation. Thousands of people needed medical attention, although there were no deaths.
This time, even if it is bigger, whether it is more or less destructive will depend on its composition. It depends on whether there are a lot of voids in its structure or whether it is more dense and solid.
The situation may change
The risk of impact from near-Earth objects is assessed on the Turin scale, ranging from 1 to 10. This asteroid has been classified as risk 1. That is to say, the risk is very low. However, it is currently the only object under investigation with a risk level other than 0. There was another, Apophis, which was classified as a risk 4 object. approached and its trajectory could be better calculated, it decreased until it did not end up with a risk of 0 in 2021.
This is why it is so important to pay attention to it. Be careful, but don’t panic. In the distant event that it does collide, there’s no way to tell where it will be. However, a line of maximum danger has been established that runs through Indonesia across the Pacific, northern Mexico and most of the United States.
Photo source: Steven M. Tilley
Also Read: NASA Spacecraft Releases Clear Images of Jupiter’s Moon Io.
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