NASA has discovered a brand-new asteroid called 2023 DW. On February 14th, 2046, there exists a small possibility that it might collide with Earth. The general public can relax as there is no reason for concern because the asteroid is now at the top of NASA’s list for Earth impact monitoring, scoring a 1 on the Torino scale.
Earth will be passed by the asteroid at a distance of approximately 1.1 million miles. As per NASA, there is a 1 in 560 chance that it will collide with the planet. The asteroid requires 271 days to make one solar orbit. It has a width of roughly 162 feet, which is approximately the same as that of an NFL football field.
Once new objects are found, it takes many weeks of data to reduce uncertainty and forecast their orbits years in advance. When additional information becomes available, NASA will continue to track the asteroid and revise its projections. If necessary, a global strategy to deflect a large space asteroid is being researched.
If a space object comes within 30 million miles of Earth, it is considered a near-Earth object. NASA’s NEO Observation Program focuses on detecting, observing, and learning about 90% of NEOs that are bigger than 140 meters. NASA has reported that over 40 percent of these asteroids have already been identified.
If there was a risk that one of these asteroids might get close, the PDCO would warn the authorities and the general population. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong, but it’s not a need.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirect (DART) mission, which was intended to have a brief lifespan and test a planetary-defense strategy that might one day defend Earth, was launched on September 26, 2022. Didymos, the larger asteroid, and its smaller moonlet Dimorphos are a binary asteroid system situated approximately 7 million miles from Earth.
DART employed autonomous navigation to focus on this system. It then accelerated to around 15,000 mph and charged head-on towards the smaller space rock. It struck with the force of a battering ram, causing extensive damage. The DART crash successfully altered the orbit of the moonlet asteroid, which NASA considers a successful mission. Dimorphos now orbits Didymos in 11 hours, 32 minutes, as opposed to the nearly 12 hours it previously required to do so.