NASA Tracking New Asteroid That Has A Chance Of Hitting Earth

NASA is tracking a new asteroid that has a chance of hitting Earth.
Credit: Alamy

NASA is tracking a new asteroid that has a chance of hitting Earth.

Asteroids are minor planets of the inner solar system, and their shapes and sizes vary a lot.

There are millions of asteroids in our solar system, but very few could potentially impact Earth.

However, scientists have now found a new one that could potentially pose a significant risk to our planet.

Watch as NASA gets set to crash spacecraft into an asteroid below…

The European Space Agency (ESA) say that this asteroid, called 2023 DW, was first discovered at the end of February.

Worryingly, it’s taken the top spot on their ‘risk list’, which keeps track of space objects that could impact Earth.

However, it’s important to note that this doesn’t necessarily mean imminent catastrophe.

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2023 DW has a Torino Scale ranking of 1, which means it poses ‘no unusual level of danger’. The Torino Scale is a tool for categorising potential Earth impact events.

Researchers suggest that 2023 DW has a 50-metre diameter, but they also say this estimate could be incorrect.

The ‘risk list’ website says: “Current calculations show the chance of collision is extremely unlikely with no cause for public attention or public concern.”

All of the other 1,448 asteroids categorised on the ‘risk list’ have a scale ranking of 0.

The ESA estimates that the chances of 2023 DW impacting Earth is 1 in 607.

And, should it end up impacting Earth, it won’t be for another 20 years.

The soonest it could potentially hit Earth would be Valentine’s Day, 2046. How romantic.

It also has the potential to hit on Valentine’s Days from then on until 2051, the ‘risk list’ states.

NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office says it’s keeping tabs on 2023 DW – but that the risk of it hitting earth in 2046 is ‘very small’.

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The office tweets: “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.

“Orbit analysts will continue to monitor asteroid 2023 DW and update predictions as more data comes in.”

Astronomer Piero Sicoli says there’s about a ‘1 in 400 chance’ that the asteroid will actually have an impact.

He wrote on Twitter: “Surely this possibility will soon be ruled out.

“However, as an exercise, I calculated where the asteroid might fall if this possibility occurred.”

He also showed via a map that if 2023 DW was to hit Earth, it could fall anywhere between the Indian Ocean to just off the East Coast of the USA.

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