NASA says a newly discovered asteroid has a ‘very small chance’ of hitting Earth: NPR

Asteroid 2023 DW will make its closest approach to Earth on February 14, 2046. NASA and other agencies are watching the asteroid closely to learn more about its expected trajectory.

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Asteroid 2023 DW will make its closest approach to Earth on February 14, 2046. NASA and other agencies are watching the asteroid closely to learn more about its expected trajectory.


NASA

Asteroid 2023 DW was discovered in late February. But NASA says it is tracking it closely to learn more about its orbital path, because the chance of an asteroid hitting Earth in 23 years is very small.

The asteroid is about 50 meters in diameter – roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool. It takes 271 days to revolve around the sun.

NASA He says that after a new object is first detected, “it takes several weeks of data to reduce uncertainties and adequately predict its orbits years into the future.”

As for how small the chance of an impact is currently estimated, NASA puts it at “1 in 560 probability of impact.” In other words, there is only a 0.18% chance it will hit Earth, or a 99.82% chance that the asteroid will harmlessly pass our planet.

Asteroid 2023 DW currently tops its “risk list”. European Space Agency – A list of 1,450 NEOs with “calculated non-zero probability of impact”.

Objects of similar size collided with Earth

Even if the asteroid hits our planet, it is not expected to cause a catastrophe on a large scale. Objects of similar size have hit Earth before, including the collision left by RIt’s a meteor crater in modern Arizona.

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And in 1908, the Siberian forests were devastated “Tunguska event” That ripped 800 square miles of land open and 80 million trees, leaving them scattered in a radial pattern.

The science of risk ratings

There are two impact risk scales: the Palermo Scale, which is used by professionals to give a granular look at potential risks posed by NEOs, and the older Turin Scale, which uses color coding and a 0-10 rating to communicate possible risks to the public.

NASA Explain How does the Palermo scale work:

For convenience, the scale is logarithmic, so, for example, a Palermo Scale value of -2 indicates that a potential effect event detected is only 1% probability as a random background event occurring in the intervening years, and a value of zero indicates that a single event is Just a threat such as a background hazard, and a value of +2 indicates an event that is 100 times more likely than a background impact by a large object at least prior to the date of the potential impact in question.”

Asteroid 2023 DW is one of only three objects currently with a Palermo Scale value greater than -3, listed at -2.17 in. ESA website.

On the Turin scaleAsteroid 2023 DW is the only object currently with a value of 1 – a designation that applies to a “routine” event in which a pass near Earth that “presents no unusual level of danger” is expected.

On the color-coded graph of the scale, the number 1 is green. For objects in this category, NASA says, further observations “are very likely to result in a reallocation to level 0,” which is a “no risk” zone.

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