Space scientists have spotted a new asteroid that may have plans to visit Earth in 20 years’ time. The asteroid, called 2023 DW, is 50 metres wide and has a slim chance of dropping by on Valentine’s Day in 2046, according to NASA’s calculations. But don’t get too worried, it only has a one in 609 chance of hitting Earth, and experts say there’s nothing to worry about yet.
The asteroid is now on the European Space Agency’s risk list, which is like a catalogue of all the things floating around in space that might make their way to Earth. It’s the only object on the list with a ranking of one on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale, which is a fancy tool used to rate how likely an asteroid is to hit Earth. But even though it’s got a ranking of one, that just means “no cause for public concern,” according to scientists.
Davide Farnocchia, a NASA asteroid expert, said there’s only a 0.2% chance that the asteroid will hit Earth. And just in case it does decide to come for a visit, NASA has been getting ready for the ultimate game of cosmic dodgeball. Last year, the space agency bumped an asteroid off course using its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft. The successful mission showed scientists how they could potentially defend Earth against asteroids in the future.
So, while it’s exciting to hear about new asteroids and potential cosmic visitors, for now, there’s no need to panic. We’ll just have to wait and see if 2023 DW decides to drop by and say hello in a couple of decades.