NASA has warned that an asteroid the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa could hit Earth on Valentine’s Day in 2046.
2023 DW, confirmed on Feb. 28, has a one in 560 chance of impacting Feb. 14 at 4:44 p.m. ET — but where it will fall is not yet known.
The predicted impact zones extend from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and the west to east coast of the US – with Los Angeles and Washington DC as possibilities.
The collision of the 165-foot 2023 DW with our planet would be similar to the Tunguska 12-megaton event that slammed into Siberia 114 years ago.
This 160 foot asteroid caused a nuclear explosion that would have devastated a large metropolitan area, but it landed in a forest and destroyed more than 80 million trees.
A city-destroying asteroid the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa could hit Earth on Valentine’s Day in 2046. The asteroid, known as 2023 DW, is big enough to destroy a metropolitan area — and Los Angeles and Washington DC have the potential impact zone
NASA announced the discovery of 2023 DW on Tuesday, noting that it would take “several weeks of data to reduce the uncertainties and adequately predict their orbits years into the future.”
The probability of the asteroid hitting Earth has changed over the past week.
On March 1, an Italian astronomer shared that NASA showed a one in 12000 chance, but the odds increased to one in 710 a day later — and now it’s one in 560.
As of March 7, 2023, the analysis of its orbit consisted of just 62 observations spanning 6.8487 days through March 4, 2023.
2023 DW currently tops the NASA risk list with a 1 on the Torino scale – meaning there is no cause for public concern at this time.
“A routine discovery predicting a near-Earth pass that does not present an unusual level of danger,” reads the description on the Torino scale.
Current calculations show that the likelihood of a collision is extremely unlikely and there is no cause for public attention or concern. New telescopic observations will most likely lead to a reclassification to level 0.’
“Orbit analysts will continue to monitor asteroid 2023 DW and update forecasts as more data comes in,” NASA tweeted.
NASA confirmed 2023 DW on Feb. 28. Pictured is the first image of the asteroid in space
While 2023 DW is at 1, it could reach 10, labeled “Certain Collisions.”
“A collision is certain, capable of causing a global climate catastrophe that could threaten the future of civilization as we know it, whether land or ocean,” the description reads.
“Such events occur on average once every 100,000 years, or less often.”
However, NASA notes that it would warn the public if 2023 reaches DW 3 on the scale.
The last significant impact was on February 15, 2013, known as Chelyabinsk.
An 18-meter-wide meteor hit the Earth’s atmosphere with an energy estimated to be equivalent to 500,000 tons of TNT, sending a shock wave around the world twice.
It caused extensive damage and injured more than 1,600 people.
And 2023 DW is more than twice that.
NASA recently confirmed it can deflect a deadly asteroid from a path toward Earth, following its successful 2021 DART mission.
The last significant impact was on February 15, 2013, known as Chelyabinsk. Pictured is the moment the 18-meter-tall meteor streaked through the sky over Russia
NASA has confirmed that it successfully deflected an asteroid into space. Pictured is the moment the spacecraft crashed into the asteroid during NASA’s DART mission
The agency launched its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in 2022 for humanity’s first planetary defense mission, dubbed NASA’s “Armageddon moment.”
The craft’s target was a moonlet named Dimorphos orbiting its parent asteroid Didymos.
On September 26, the world watched as DART shot toward Dimorphos at 15,000 miles per hour, pushing it out of orbit.
And on March 1, 2023, NASA confirmed that the mission was a resounding success.
The refrigerator-sized space agency satellite managed to skim 33 minutes off the orbit of a 520-foot-wide asteroid — nearly five times larger than predicted.
Scientists at Northern Arizona University said: “Serving as a proof-of-concept for the planetary defense kinetic impactor technique, DART was to show that an asteroid could be targeted in a high-velocity encounter and that the target’s orbit could have changed.’