(CNN) There’s a “small chance” a newly discovered asteroid is roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool collision with Earth in 23 years, with a possible impact on Valentine’s Day in 2046, according to NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office.
The probability of an asteroid hitting Earth is 1 in 625, based on European Space Agency data estimates, although NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Sentry system calculates the odds to be closer to 1 in 560. The latter tracks potential collisions with celestial bodies.
But space rock- 2023 in the name of DW — is the only object on NASA’s hazard list that ranks 1 out of 10 on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, a metric for classifying the potential risk of an object colliding with Earth. All other objects rank at 0 on the Torino scale.
Although 2023 DW tops the list, its ranking of 1 means “the probability of a collision without public attention or cause for public concern is extremely unlikely,” according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, while a ranking of 0 means “the probability of a collision is nil, or effectively nil.” less.”
“This object is not particularly relevant,” said David Fernocchia, a navigation engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
NASA officials caution that impact potential could change dramatically as more observations of the 2023 DW are collected and additional analysis is done.
“Often when new objects are first discovered,” NASA’s asteroid watch “It takes several weeks of data to reduce uncertainty and adequately predict their orbital years into the future,” noted Twitter on Tuesday.
Risk of asteroid impact
Newly discovered asteroids seem more terrifying when first observed.
The Center for Near Earth Object Studies, based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, notes on its website, “Because orbits derived from a very limited set of observations are more uncertain, such orbits will ‘allow’ for future impacts”.
“However, such early predictions can often be ruled out as we incorporate more observations and reduce uncertainty in the object’s orbit,” it read. “In most cases, the threat associated with a particular object will decrease as additional observations become available.”
Due to the asteroid’s proximity to the moon, it could be days before new data is collected, Farnocchia noted in an email to CNN. last full moon That was two days ago, and it still appears bright and large in the sky, possibly obscuring the 2023 DW from immediate observations, he said.
“But the object will remain observable for several weeks (even months with large telescopes) so we can get as many observations as needed,” he added.
The asteroid measures 160 feet (about 50 meters) in diameter, according to NASA data. 2023 DW orbiting the Sun, it has made 10 predicted closest approaches to Earth, with the closest landing on February 14, 2046, and another nine between 2047 and 2054. The closest asteroid to Earth is about 1.1 million miles (1.1 million miles by 1.8 million kilometers), notes NASA’s Eyes on Asteroids website.
The space rock was first seen in our skies on February 2.
It is traveling 11 million miles (18 million kilometers) from Earth at about 15.5 miles per second (25 kilometers per second), completing one loop around the Sun every 271 days.
Fernocchia noted the success of NASA’s DART mission, or Double Asteroid Redirection Experiment, In September 2022 As evidence that humanity may be ready to face the space rock on a potentially catastrophic course. DART intentionally collides a spacecraft with an asteroid to alter its trajectory.
“That’s why we flew that mission,” he said, “and that mission was a spectacular success.”