Asteroid could strike earth on Valentine's Day 2046: NASA

Published: Updated:
Read Mode
100% Font Size
2 min read

An asteroid could potentially strike Earth on February 14, 2046, NASA said in a tweet on Tuesday.

The newly discovered asteroid, known as 2023 DW, has caught the attention of NASA’s Asteroid Watch team who have been tracking it to monitor its movements.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

As the asteroid is a new discovery, it will take several weeks of data to reduce the uncertainties and predict its orbit accurately years into the future.

The space agency said it will continue to monitor 2023 DW and update its predictions as more data becomes available.

The asteroid has an average diameter of 49 m and is currently 0.12 astronomical units (AU) away from Earth.

One astronomical unit is approximately the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.

However, NASA has confirmed that even if the asteroid does hit the Earth, it is unlikely to cause a global catastrophe.

To put things into perspective, a similarly-sized asteroid of about 50-60 meters in diameter exploded over Eastern Siberia in 1908. It caused a 12-megaton explosion that flattened an estimated 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 km2 (830 square miles). The impact of the asteroid left no significant human casualties.

In contrast, the asteroid that caused the extinction of dinosaurs was believed to have been between 10 and 15 kilometers wide.

To prepare for any potential impact, NASA crashed its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft into the Dimorphos asteroid in September 2022. The mission aimed to test a method of planetary defense against near-Earth objects (NEOs) and assess how much a spacecraft impact deflects an asteroid through its transfer of momentum when hitting the asteroid head-on.

A live simulation of asteroid 2023 DW’s predicted path is streaming on NASA’s Eyes On Asteroids website for those interested in tracking its movements.

The space agency will continue to monitor the asteroid closely and update its predictions as more information becomes available.

Read more:

Asteroid’s close passage shows blind spot in planetary threat detection

Space mission shows Earth’s water may be from asteroids: Study

Rare green comet will appear in night sky for first time since Stone Age

Top Content Trending