Earth will most likely avoid a collision with the asteroid 2023 DW, discovered last month. NASA and the European Space Agency have presented new estimates on this topic. Initially, it was estimated that the object would hit our planet on February 14, 2046 with a probability of 1 in about 600.
In early March, the Planetary Defense Coordinating Office NASA informed that an asteroid called 2023 DW on February 14, 2046 may hit the Earth. The object was discovered in late February and is about 50 meters in diameter. It was placed on the highest position so far achieved by celestial bodies on the Torino scale – an 11-degree, ascending metric, according to which the American agency assesses the possible threat of a space catastrophe.
Initially, the US space agency claimed that the probability of an asteroid colliding with our planet is 1 in 560. The European Space Agency (ESA) forecasts indicated a risk of 1 in 625.
The risk has gone down and will go down
NASA has now announced a new estimate, putting the odds of 2023 DW hitting Earth from 1 in 770. This means there’s a 99.87 percent chance the object will miss us.
The ESA center that studies NEOs, or Near-Earth objects, i.e. those that are at least 193 million kilometers from our planet, has also changed its calculations, lowering the risk to 1 in 1584. As Richard Mossil said on Tuesday from the ESA, the risk “will fall steadily until it reaches zero in a few days at the latest.”
The US space agency explained in a statement earlier this month that “often when new objects are first noticed, several weeks of data collection are required to reduce uncertainty and adequately predict their orbits in the future,” it was reported via social media on Tuesday.
On February 14, 23 years from now, the asteroid will make its first approach to the Earth. Later, it is supposed to orbit the Sun and between the years 2047-2054 it will approach our planet at least nine more times. It is currently 19 million kilometers from Earth and is moving at a speed of 25 kilometers per second.
Earth vs asteroids
NASA uses an array of four Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) telescopes to track the locations and orbits of 28,000 asteroids. Since 2017, 700 have been detected in this way asteroids near-Earth and 66 comets. Two of the asteroids detected by ATLAS, 2019 MO and 2018 LA, hit the Earth. The first fell off the southern coast of Puerto Rico, and the second near the border of Botswana and South Africa. Fortunately, these objects were small in size and did not cause any damage.
Scientists are working on possible ways to avoid the collision of an asteroid with the Earth. To this end, in October, a planetary defense test was carried out as part of the DART mission. The probe that was sent crashed into Dimorphos, the moon of the asteroid Didymos, to change its course. As a result, the orbital period of the small moon shifted by 33 minutes, much more than expected. According to experts, this is proof that man can influence the movement of celestial bodies. A few months after the successful test, a detailed analysis of the data collected during the mission was presented.
Main photo source: eyes.nasa.gov