Six asteroids on track to hit Earth

By Rob Waugh Tech Correspondent for Dailymail.Com

17.01 18 March 2023, updated 17.05 18 March 2023

Space experts this week warned of a space rock the size of an Olympic swimming pool that could hit Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046 – but how many more are out there?

The good news is that it’s not time to go to the doomsday bins just yet – the Valentine’s Day asteroid (2023 DW) quickly got lower odds of hitting Earth.

But there are several asteroids out there with the potential to hit Earth in the coming centuries – although space agencies around the world are keeping a close eye on these.

Scroll down to read about the six asteroids:

NASA has also conducted a successful experiment in which a small spacecraft deflected a space rock by crashing into it.

The good news is that very large asteroids – of the type that killed the dinosaurs – are being monitored and all have been assessed as ‘extremely unlikely’ to hit Earth.

NASA says more than 100 tons of rocky particles hit Earth every day — but football-field-sized asteroids only hit every 2,000 years.

Civilization-ending asteroids collide with our planet only once every few million years – and rocks of this size are closely monitored.

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So rocks most likely to hit Earth are likely to burn up in the atmosphere or cause minimal damage—rather than being the civilization-ending impact beloved of Hollywood movies.

Smaller rocks can have an impact, though: The Chelyabinsk meteor that left 1,500 injured in 2013 when it exploded over Russia was only 59 feet in diameter.

During the 2013 Chelyabinsk event, 1,500 people were injured and 7,300 buildings were damaged by the intense overpressure generated by the shock wave on Earth’s surface.

NASA and other space agencies closely monitor ‘Potentially Hazardous Asteroids’.

Asteroids are rated by their likelihood of impacting Earth on three scales—the Turin scale, a one-to-ten chart from 0 (will not impact Earth) to 10 (will impact Earth and will be catastrophic).

Currently, no asteroid is ranked above one.

The related Palermo scale is used by scientists to rank risk over a longer period of time — and NASA’s Sentry Risk table ranks asteroids by their risk of hitting Earth.

The first sightings of asteroids tend to be brief, and as scientists get more data, the likelihood of an impact decreases.

Name: 2023 DW

Chances of impact? One in 1,584

Date of Potential Impact: February 14, 2046

Experts warned this week that this 160-foot asteroid could cause an explosion similar to the Tunguska event, which flattened more than 80 million trees.

But the odds of the rock hitting Earth on Valentine’s Day 2046 have since been significantly reduced.

Richard Moissl, head of ESA’s Planetary Defense Office, reduced the odds of the asteroid hitting Earth from one in 784 to one in 1,584.

Moissi said: ‘It will decrease now with each observation until it reaches zero in a few days at the latest. No one needs to be worried about this guy.’

Name: Bennu

Chances of impact? One in 2,700

Date of Potential Impact: September 24, 2182

Bennu may hit Earth in second half of next century (NASA)

Bennu is very slightly wider than the height of New York’s Empire State Building, and was visited by NASA’s Osiris-Rex spacecraft in 2020, which collected material from its surface.

Bennu is more than 4.5 billion years old – and scientists estimate that it has a one in 2,700 chance of impacting Earth in the late 22nd century.

Professor Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona previously said that an impact with Bennu would release ‘three times more energy than any nuclear weapon detonated throughout history’.

“The impact would release energy equivalent to 1,450 megatons of TNT.”

‘By comparison, the fission bombs used in World War II had an energy release of about 20 kilotons of TNT each, and the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated, the Russian Tsar Bomba, had a yield of 50 megatons.’

Name: 2010RF12

Chances of impact? One out of 10

Date of Potential Impact: September 5, 2095

Instead of reaching Earth, this asteroid will likely explode in a fireball (stock image) experts suggest

This asteroid is classed as the most likely to hit our planet in the next century, with a one in ten chance of hitting Earth – but don’t panic, it’s pretty small.

The space rock is scheduled to arrive just before the end of this century, but is believed to be about 21 feet in diameter.

So instead of hitting the surface, it will likely explode in a large airburst in the upper atmosphere, where all that reaches the ground is pebbles.

Name: 1950 AD

Chances of impact? One in 34,000

Date of Potential Impact: March 16, 2880

This half kilometer wide asteroid has a fairly high risk of hitting Earth with a 1 in 34,000 chance.

It’s also been given a high risk rating due to its size – but it won’t be for another eight centuries.

First discovered in 1950, hence the name, it has since been observed at the turn of the millennium.

In 2032, it will make a close pass, 6,959,357 miles away, which will allow further observations.

NASA points out that we have 35 generations to deal with the problem.

NASA says: ‘If it is eventually decided that 1950 DA must be diverted, the hundreds of years of warning may allow a method as simple as dusting the surface of the asteroid with chalk or charcoal, or perhaps white glass beads, or sending a solar cell. sail spacecraft that ends up collapsing its reflective sail around the asteroid.

“These things would change the reflectivity of asteroids and allow sunlight to do the work of pushing the asteroid out of the way.”

Name: Toutatis

Chances of impact? REACH

Date of potential impact: 2562

Huge asteroid sparked fears in 2004, but won’t be back for a while (NASA)
Toutatis won’t be back near Earth for some time (NASA)

This huge asteroid is three miles wide and gave Earth a close shave in 2004, passing four times the distance from Earth to the Moon – triggering a wave of unwarranted predictions of doom.

It won’t make another close pass like this until 2562, NASA predicts.

NASA says: ‘Due to an extensive set of optical and radar observations, the orbit of Toutatis is one of the best determined of any asteroid, and there is no chance that this object will collide with Earth during this encounter – or any other meeting for at least five centuries.’

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