NASA revealed that a newly discovered massive asteroid has a one in 625 chance of slamming into Earth in 2046. The asteroid is named 2023 DW and was first discovered on February 27. Astronomers closely studied its size and concluded that the asteroid is about the size of an Olympic swimming pool. Even though the odds of this asteroid slamming into Earth is relatively small, scientists are aware of the dangers the asteroid will pose to humanity if it eventually makes its way to our home planet.
What Scientists discovered about the Massive Asteroid
After astronomers spotted the 2023 DW on February 27, they kept a close watch on it to learn more about its features. Based on the scientific observations made on this space rock, scientists concluded that the asteroid is about 165 feet (50 meters) in diameter. This is approximately the length of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Further observations on the massive asteroid inspired astronomers to conclude that the asteroid will fly past very close to Earth on February 14, 2046.
Scientists working at the Earth Object Coordination Centre of the European Space Agency reveal that the asteroid has a one in 625 chance of impacting earth directly. This estimation was made on March 8 and scientists often update this value every day. This implies that the movement of the asteroid across in the future will determine how close 2023 DW will come to our home planet.
Will 2023 DW Pose a Threat to Humans?
Since scientists estimate that the space rock has a one in 625 chance of striking Earth directly, our home planet may be quite safe from 2023 DW. However, even if the asteroid strikes Earth, it will not impact our home planet with the same force as the Chicxulub asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. This is because the Chicxulub asteroid had a diameter of several miles while the 2023 DW is only the size of an Olympic swimming pool.
“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,” NASA tweeted. “Orbit analysts will continue to monitor asteroid 2023 DW and update predictions as more data comes in.”
This tweet reveals how confident NASA has remained in studying the orbit of 2023 DW in the future. The American Space Agency has not released any alerts about the massive asteroid 2023 DW. But NASA is using its powerful systems to track the asteroid and see if its chances of striking with Earth may worsen with time.
The space agency developed systems that constantly monitor near-Earth objects especially Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHA). NASA engineers are also working tirelessly to improve these systems and ensure that they boost the detection capabilities of these devices.
Why the Discovery of 2023 DW is changing the way we monitor Massive Asteroid
Space agencies are away of the dangers asteroids pose to humanity. Despite having several potentially hazardous asteroids as near-Earth objects, scientists assume that none of them may be striking Earth directly anytime soon. However, the discovery of 2023 DW has reminded our astronomers that asteroids can still make it to our orbit in the future.
NASA is one of the space agencies working on planetary defense systems that will save humanity in the case of asteroids heading in our direction. The agency accomplished its Direct Asteroid Redirect Mission in 2022 and currently planning on the next phase to take for protecting Earth against Asteroids. NASA has studied asteroids and other dangerous space debris for several decades.
In fact, scientists across the globe have relied on data obtained from these observations to improve our knowledge about the solar system and how to defend Earth from asteroid threats in the future. In addition, China is currently building a powerful radar system that could detect asteroids heading in our direction. With these technologies, humans may be able to withstand any massive asteroid impact in the future.
As 2023 DW will be making its closest approach to Earth on February 14, 2046, should be able to develop a planetary defense system before then in case the asteroid poses any threat to humanity. What do you think about this newly detected massive asteroid?