A new asteroid is crashing into headlines this week.
This week, NASA let the world know as much as possible about the asteroid, which is formally known as 2023 DW.
“We’ve been tracking a new asteroid named 2023 DW that has a very small chance of impacting Earth in 2046,” the agency’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office said on Tuesday, adding that it often takes “several weeks” to gather data that could further alleviate any concerns.
The average estimate diameter of the asteroid is more than 49 meters, or roughly 160 feet. By NASA standards, that means only “local damage to the impact area” should be expected were the asteroid to actually hit earth in 2046. The closest approach to Earth for 2023 DW is currently listed at Feb. 14, 2046—i.e. Valentine’s Day.
For live-updating stats on the asteroid, hit this link.
On the asteroid front, NASA has been particularly busy in recent months. As announced at the top of this month, data obtained through the agency’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission showed that sending up a craft to deflect is indeed a viable approach to changing an asteroid’s path.
“I cheered when DART slammed head on into the asteroid for the world’s first planetary defense technology demonstration, and that was just the start,” Nicola Fox, NASA’s associate administrator of its Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said last week.