Scientists regularly scare ordinary people with reports that an asteroid can fall on Earth, which can destroy entire cities and cause the death of thousands of people. For many years, representatives of the NASA aerospace agency have said that the most dangerous asteroid for us is Bennu. This small space object was discovered in 2013 and, according to the forecasts of astronomers, it may collide with our planet on September 24, 2182. This warning sounds scary, but a catastrophic event is still a long way off. Recently, American scientists shared more disturbing news that one of the newly discovered asteroids could destroy part of the Earth in twenty years. What is the probability of a catastrophe, where will the asteroid fall and what will be the consequences?
Probability of asteroid 2023 DW falling to Earth
Potentially dangerous for the Earth asteroid, which will be discussed now, is known as 2023 DW. It was discovered on February 26, 2023 by scientists Georges Attard and Alain Maury as part of the Maury/Attard/Parrott (MAP) asteroid search program. At the time of discovery, he was 10 million kilometers from Earth. As a rule, after the discovery of a new asteroid, scientists learn that the risk of its collision with the Earth is zero. However, having studied the trajectory of 2023 DW, astronomers could not come to such a conclusion.
According to NASA, the flight path of the new asteroid is such that it could collide with the Earth in twenty years. If the astronomers’ calculations are correct, the catastrophe will occur on February 14, 2046, right on Valentine’s Day. At first it was believed that the probability of a collision is 1 in 2000. However, because scientists came to the conclusion that the asteroid will fall to Earth with a probability of 1 in 560, or 0.18%.
On the one hand, this message seems like a panic from scratch. After all, if you paraphrase the statement of scientists, the probability that the asteroid 2023 DW will fly past our planet is 99.82%. However, after this flyby, the asteroid may return to us in time, and the next time it will hit the target exactly. Calculations show that most likely it will fall into the Pacific Ocean, Indonesia, Mexico or the United States.
Недавно ученые предложили строить города на астероидах. Но разве это возможно?
Consequences of the fall of the asteroid 2023 DW
If the asteroid 2023 DW falls to Earth, no one will find it small. The diameter of this space object is estimated at 47 meters, which is twice the size of the meteorite that fell on Chelyabinsk in 2013. As a result of the fall of the Chelyabinsk meteorite, a shock wave arose, due to which windows were knocked out of many buildings, and 1615 people received injuries of varying severity. Fortunately, there were no deaths. It is easy to guess that when the asteroid 2023 DW falls on some busy city, there will be much more victims.
According to scientists, the destructiveness of asteroids is also very dependent on their composition. If the asteroid 2023 DW is made up of a pile of rubble and has a large amount of voids inside, the destruction will be small. However, if it is something more dense and solid, then the destruction may be comparable to the consequences of the fall of the Tunguska meteorite. Recall that a meteorite that fell in 1908 on uninhabited areas of the taiga caused an explosion, the energy of which is comparable to that of a hydrogen bomb. The roar was heard within a radius of 1000 kilometers, and the blast wave was recorded by seismographs around the world.
You may have noticed that every year scientists are talking more and more about the likelihood of asteroids falling to Earth. Many conspiracy theories can be built around these reports, but in fact, astronomers have indeed begun to discover more asteroids potentially dangerous to humanity. Such discoveries have become more frequent because technology does not stand still and scientists have the equipment to study even the most distant space objects from the Earth.
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No matter how scary it may sound, there is always a risk of an asteroid falling to Earth. Sometimes scientists simply do not have time to notice a space object approaching us – for example, the fall of a meteorite on Chelyabinsk was a completely unexpected phenomenon. If you want to know what will happen if an asteroid hits your city, you can use the Asteroid Launcher website (here is the instruction). In it, you can select the characteristics of a space object, such as its size and composition, and launch it to your city on a virtual map. The service will show with high accuracy what the radius of the shock wave will be and what destruction it will lead to.