According to NASA, there’s a “very small chance” that an asteroid could hit the earth on Valentine’s Day 2046.
The asteroid is a new one that NASA has been tracking named 2023 DW.
NASA says that orbit analysts are monitoring the asteroid and will update predictions when more data comes in.
We’ve been tracking a new asteroid named 2023 DW that has a very small chance of impacting Earth in 2046. 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. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/SaLC0AUSdP
— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) March 7, 2023
2023 DW has an estimated diameter of 49.29 m, slightly larger than two tennis courts or nine pick-up trucks put together.
One astronomer, Piero Sicoli, suggests that 2023 DW has a 1 in 400 chance to impact the earth on Valentine’s Day 2046.
#2023DW. With just 3 days of arc, I found about 1 in 400 chance of impact on Feb. 14, 2046 (JPL 1/770). Surely this possibility will soon be ruled out, however, as an exercise, I calculated where the asteroid might fall if this possibility occurred. pic.twitter.com/ldlSYJMvMz
— PS (@Piero_Sicoli) March 2, 2023
Sicoli also suggests the possibility of impact will soon be ruled out.
While it’s hard to fully anticipate what kind of damage a 50 m asteroid could do to the earth were impact guaranteed, Space.com did some analysis on other prominent instances of large space rocks reaching the earth.
One asteroid not on a collision course with the earth is Dimorphos which is 160 m. Space.com suggests that if an asteroid of that size fell on London, “windows would break over the whole southeast of England” and that damage in the area would be extreme. There would also be no survivors in the city centre.
The bad news is an asteroid might impact the earth, but the good news is, if the prediction panned out, you might not have to worry about scoring a date on Valentine’s Day 2046.