The statements made by NASA concerning an asteroid that is moving towards the earth are frighteningly concrete. How high is the probability of a catastrophe really?
NASA Planetary Defense Predicts Asteroid In 2046
One thing in advance: a apocalypse is very unlikely – nevertheless, it can be real and significant Danger cannot be completely ruled out. “We have a new asteroid named 2023 DW observed, who has a very small chance in 2046 hitting Earth,” the US space agency said on Twitter (Source: NASA Asteroid Watch). It is moving at about 25 kilometers per second at a distance of more than 18 million kilometers from Earth. The concrete date for an impact is February 14th – yes, of all places at Valentine’s Day.
According to NASA, the asteroid has an estimated diameter of 49.29 meters. This is comparable in size to the Tunguska asteroid, which most likely devastated a large area in Siberia in 1908. You can get an interactive and three-dimensional view of the object in the tool NASA’s Eyes on Asteroids throw.
Probability of impact (reasonably) low
Humanity must first don’t panic, because the chances of an impact are reasonably low. The European Space Agency speaks of one 1 in 625 probability (Source: ESA). NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies currently estimates 1 in 560 (Source: CNEOS). While that’s a lot more likely than winning the lottery, it’s still in a range that doesn’t make most people dig a bunker for the apocalypse right away.
Aside from that, there are other options defensive measures: For example, in September 2022, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) directed a probe the size of a soda machine onto an asteroid. This actually changed its orbit after the intentional collision (Source: SZ). Perhaps such a measure can also be taken with “2023 DW”? There is still enough time to prepare for it in peace and quiet. And: If all else fails, we’ll just send Chuck Norris to kick the thing into another galaxy for us.