Asteroid Has a Small Chance of Hitting Earth on Feb. 14, 2046

NASA says DB 2023 isn't 'particularly concerning'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2023 10:00 AM CST
Newly Spotted Asteroid Could Hit on Valentine's Day 2046
NASA shared this artist's impression of the asteroid.   (NASA)

There's a very small but real chance that a space rock could ruin a lot of romantic evenings 23 years from now, according to NASA's Planetary Defense Office. The newly discovered asteroid, DB 2023, has a 1 in 560 chance of hitting Earth on Valentine's Day 2046, according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The European Space Agency puts the odds at 1 in 625. The asteroid has a diameter of around 160 feet, which CNN compares to an Olympic swimming pool, USA Today compares to a football field, and the Jerusalem Post likens to "27 pandas, should those bears be laying down in a row, front and back legs fully extended out."

NASA says that while the chances of impact could change dramatically when more data on DB 2023 is gathered, for now it seems like nothing to worry about. "This object is not particularly concerning," said Davide Farnocchia at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, per CNN. The ESA says the asteroid was first spotted Feb. 23 at an observatory in Chile.

The object is the only object on the JPL Sentry program's Earth Impact Monitoring list with a level higher than zero on the 0-10 Torino Impact Hazard Scale, but it is only 1. That puts it in the "green zone," with the description: "Routine discovery in which a pass near the Earth is predicted that poses no unusual level of danger. Current calculations show that the chance of collision is extremely unlikely with no cause for public attention or public concern. Near telescopic observations very likely will lead to re-assignment to Level 0." (More asteroid stories.)

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