Somewhere out there in the solar system, orbiting the Sun every 271 days, it’s an asteroid called 2023 Dw that was recently spotted when it came within just 9 million kilometers of Earth.
It’s a 50 meter diameter Rock, about the same size of rock that caused the tungusker event.
Nasa said 2023 Dw had a one in 560 odds of hitting the Earth in 2046, giving us a pretty good chance.
The Rock will miss the Earth entirely, but what would happen if something changed its orbit and it was suddenly on a collision course with Earth?
What level of Devastation would result from such an asteroid impact if it happened over a city and not in the Frozen Wasteland of Siberia?
Could we deflect or push this asteroid away from Earth before it hits us foreign this year?
The 2023 Dw asteroid is currently racing through space at approximately 86 400 kilometers per hour.
The odds of the asteroid striking Earth on Valentine’s Day, 2046, as estimated by scientists, a one in 560, but some researchers have put forward different calculations, one of them being a one in 400 chance.
There’s even an estimated area where the space Rock might land, marked by the red dots in this image.
The potential impact sites extend from a location near the southern tip of India to an area near the eastern coast of the United States.
When evaluating the risks posed by near-earth objects, scientists employ various metrics, including the Torino scale.
Typically, potential threats register a score of zero or below, indicating minimal concern.
However, in the case of 2023 Dw, Nasa assigned it a score of one on the 1 to 10 scale.
Signal find a somewhat elevated level of risk over the course of its orbit around the sun, 2023 Dw is expected to make 10 Close passes by our planet, with the first one projected to occur on February, the 14th, 2046..
The asteroid’s closest approach during this period will take place on that same day at a distance of about 0.009614 astronomical units away from Earth.
As astronomers continued the risk assessment, the probability of the asteroid colliding with our planet decreased to one in 1584..
But what if something goes wrong and scientists calculations are incorrect?
How devastating would the impact be?
According to a scientist at Nasa’s Center for near-earth object studies, you could compare it to the tungusker event, which involved an asteroid of similar size exploding in the atmosphere above a sparsely populated region of Siberia in 1908.
The power of an air burst caused by a 50 meter wide asteroid, equivalent to a 12 Megaton Newton clear bomb, could result in a similar catastrophe.
If the asteroid 2023 Dw were to smash into Earth in the wrong location, it could result in a catastrophic event that would destroy a city.
The tungusker event explosion covered an area approximately 2 000 square kilometers.
More than 80 million trees were flattened and a huge number of trees and bushes were burned to Cinders.
In the explosion area, eyewitnesses described seeing a fireball as bright as the sun.
Seismic and pressure waves were recorded in many observatories throughout the world, and bright lights in the sky at night were observed over much of Eurasia.
Just imagine this kind of explosion over a populated city.
So what can we do in case of a genuine threat?
What Can We Do
Nasa and the European Space Agency have been actively exploring ways to deflect potentially hazardous asteroids.
In a recent test, Nasa’s double asteroid redirection test spacecraft demonstrated that it could alter the orbit of an asteroid by deliberately colliding with it.
Following this successful test, the Esa is planning a similar mission called Hera.
Esa’s here a spacecraft is set to launch in October 2024 and is tasked with performing a detailed survey of the binary asteroid system known as Didimos, specifically its moonlit dimorphos, which was impacted by Nasa’s Dart Mission.
Hero will be equipped with advanced technology, including automated guidance and control to navigate the asteroid system safely and Survey the crater left by Dart.
It will also measure dimorphoses mass and composition using a set of instruments including an asteroid framing camera, thermal and spectral images and a laser altimeter for surface mapping.
Hero will also deploy a pair of shoe box sized cubesats to the vicinity of Dimorphos as the first spacecraft to Rendezvous with a binary asteroid system.
Hira is Europe’s Flagship planetary Defender that could be used in future asteroid deflection missions.
By the time 2023, Dw makes its closest approach to Earth.
In 2046, space agencies and policy makers will have a better understanding of how to deal with a potential impact threat.
The success of the Dart Mission provides hope that, if necessary, the orbit of a threatening asteroid could be altered to avoid a collision with our planet.
None of these plans, however, will be put into priority unless the odds of an impact go higher than 1 in 100.
But what if we Face an asteroid that’s immune to our strikes?