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Asteroid could hit Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046


Asteroid could hit Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046

There is a one-in-625 chance of this happening, and the asteroid is known as 2023DW.

Scientists from the European Space Agency’s Near Earth Objects Co-ordination Center are estimating the Space rock’s dimensions to understand if it is a real threat.

Here’s what you need to know.

Will Asteroid 2023DW hit Earth?

Currently, the asteroid is thought to be about the size of an Olympic swimming pool, and is at a distance of 0.12 astronomical units (AU), or about 18 million km (more than 11 million miles) from Earth.

On Wednesday (March 8), Nasa’s Planetary Defense Co-ordination Office tweeted: “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,” it added.

Asteroids are Space rocks that orbit the sun, usually from the Asteroid Belt, but sometimes on a path that takes them near Earth. When they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they become known as meteors.

This asteroid measures 50m in diameter and may not hit the planet as severely as the meteor that obliterated the dinosaurs 66 million years ago, which was several miles in diameter.

Yet, in comparison, the meteor that struck Chelyabinsk Oblast, in Russia in 2013, was about 18m in size and its air burst led to extensive ground damage, including multiple injuries and damage to buildings.

International organisations such as Nasa have been working on planetary defence and ways to protect the planet from potential collisions with Space rocks.

Last year, Nasa made history by slamming its Dart mission spacecraft into an asteroid, which was the first time the course of a heavenly body was altered by life on Earth.

In a recent scientific breakthrough, amateur astronomers helped Nasa confirm the aftermath of the Dart mission.

Looking at the behaviour of the asteroid following impact, researchers found the planet could be saved from similar potential deadly Space rocks.

They said redirecting asteroids with similar spacecraft collision “is a viable technique to potentially defend Earth, if necessary”.

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