Asteroid in 2046 may disrupt Valentine’s Day

The asteroid has an average diameter of 49 metres and is currently 17 billion km from Earth

The prospects for Valentine’s Day 2046 are dim because an asteroid is projected to pass dangerously near to striking the planet.

A newly found space rock that may collide with our planet is being monitored by scientists, who have identified 14 February as the most likely date for the closest encounter.

This week, Nasa said that it had been monitoring a new asteroid called 2023 DW that has an extremely minuscule possibility of striking Earth in 2046.

It frequently takes several weeks of data after a new object is detected to reduce the uncertainties and correctly forecast its orbit years in the future, according to the statement.

Orbit analysts are set to continue monitoring asteroid 2023 DW and update predictions as more data comes in.

The space agency say the asteroid has an average diameter of 49 metres and is currently 0.12 astronomical unit (au) – or 17 billion km- from Earth.

One au (astronomical unit) is approximately the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.

However, if the asteroid does hit it would not likely cause a global catastrophe.

In 1908, a similarly-sized asteroid of about 50-60 metres exploded over a sparsely populated Eastern Siberian forest.

It caused a 12-megaton explosion that flattened an estimated 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 sq km.

Eyewitness reports suggest that at least three people may have died in the event.

On a larger scale, the asteroid thought to have wiped out dinosaurs was believed to have been between 10 and 15 kilometres wide.

The impact site, known as the Chicxulub crater, is centred on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

Even if the asteroid was a definite threat, Nasa has the technology to take care of it.

In September 2022, Nasa successfully pulled off the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission successfully crashing a spacecraft into a small asteroid as part of a planetary protection test mission.


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