NASA scientists are tracking a newly discovered asteroid that could hit Earth in 2046.
According to NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, that’s a “very small” chance — about 1 in 600.
The space agency’s orbital analysts are keeping a close eye on the asteroid, which is about the size of an Olympic swimming pool.
The asteroid, called 2023 DW, is currently at the top of the European Space Agency’s “risk list.”
It was first spotted on February 28.
It has the potential to hit Earth on February 14, 2046 or in the following years until 2051.
NASA’s Asteroid Watch says its analysts will monitor 2023 DW and update the forecast as more data becomes available.
Astronomer Piero Sicoli, coordinator of the Solmano Observatory in Italy, tweeted out his calculations for the asteroid’s trajectory, estimating the chance of the asteroid hitting Earth at 400% one-third.
If it does, his calculations — based on what is currently known about the asteroid — suggest it could collide between the Indian Ocean and the east coast of the United States. Red dots on the map indicate likely areas of impact.
However, Mr Sicoli said he viewed a possible collision as a drill and said it would “certainly be ruled out very quickly”.
About 31,000 asteroids have been tracked — up from about 9,500 in 2013.
since Chelyabinsk Meteor Attacks in Russia in 2013, injuring 1,100 people, Tracking procedures have been enhanced.
NASA is working on the $1.2bn (£985m) Near-Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor, due to launch in 2028, it will be the first spacecraft designed specifically to hunt for asteroids and Space telescope with comet.
The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (Dart) spacecraft is also underway. When testing last yearwhich was deliberately crashed into an asteroid and successfully altered its orbit.