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Who Knew Valentine’s Day Could Kill Us All

Scientists say Valentine’s day in 2046 might not be as full of love and joy as usual. On Tuesday, March 7th, NASA tweeted about a possible asteroid spiraling toward Earth. Asteroid 2023 DW was discovered towards the end of February, and since then, scientists have notified the public and reassured them that they would be keeping a close eye on it. 


Even though the asteroid is at the top of the European Space Agency’s risk list, the chances of it hitting are 1 in 560. NPR illustrates just how unlikely this situation can be. They said, “there is only a 0.18% chance of hitting Earth or a 99.82% chance that the asteroid will streak harmlessly past our planet.” The size of the asteroid has been compared to that of an Olympic swimming pool, so instead of an asteroid ending humanity, as we know it, it would only cause some damage. This does not mean the impact would be small, but not as big as the one annihilating the dinosaurs. 


The asteroid has been ranked on the Torino scale as a 1. This indicates that even though a gloomy Valentine’s day in 2046 sounds mortifying, the asteroid does not imply any unusual level of danger. As the Center for Near Earth Object Studies explains, “current calculations show the chance of collision is extremely unlikely with no cause for public attention or public concern. New telescopic observations very likely will lead to re-assignment to Level 0.”


If the asteroid were to be on course for Earth, fear not, there are plans. Although the thought of an asteroid colliding with Earth sounds horrifying, some scientists are probably smiling from ear to ear. Research for stopping something like this from happening has been occurring for many years. Scientists have been preparing and “practicing” for scenarios like this. For instance, “last October, NASA confirmed the agency's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (Dart) mission had successfully changed the travel path of a small asteroid by slamming a spacecraft into it,” as written on BBC.


Many headlines worldwide feature the possible impact of the asteroid but remember that it is extremely unlikely. Valentine’s Day in 2046 might not be so bad after all.

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Tags: Science 2023 DW Valentine's Day 2046 Asteroid


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