If a 50-meter-wide asteroid were to hit Earth, the consequences would depend on several factors, such as the angle of impact, the speed of the asteroid, and the location of impact. However, it is safe to say that the effects would be significant and potentially catastrophic.
Firstly, the impact would cause an enormous explosion that would release energy equivalent to several nuclear bombs. This explosion would generate a shockwave that would travel through the Earth’s surface, causing significant damage to any structures in its path. The impact would also create a crater several hundred meters wide and several tens of meters deep, depending on the type of terrain where it hits.
The newly-discovered 2023 DW asteroid qualifies for the scenario, as it measures 50 meters wide, unfortunately.
2023 DW could hit Earth in 2046
A newly discovered asteroid, designated as 2023 DW, has been found to have a notable chance of impacting the Earth in 2046, according to The Jerusalem Post. The asteroid, estimated to be around 50 meters wide, has been given a 1 out of 625 chance of impact by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA’s asteroid tracker. The asteroid has also been ranked a 1 on the Torino scale, indicating a low probability of impact. Although the asteroid is an Aten-class asteroid, which spends most of its time between our planet’s orbit and the Sun, experts say the chance of it causing serious damage to human life is very low.
Thanks to the huge advancements of technology in general and of NASA in particular, we all have a chance to get rid of the pesky asteroid.
Dr. Agata Rożek from the University of Edinburgh stated as The Jerusalem Post quotes:
I think the smashing success of DART shows we have a fighting chance of deflecting small asteroids, and 23 years seems like enough warning time for an asteroid this size,
Of course, we would need to study 2023 DW to understand how similar it is to Dimorphos, and how the outcome of DART impact would scale to plan an adequate response. Fortunately, we have eyes on the skies and telescopes and tools to do that.
There are over 25,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) discovered, with more being found regularly. Of those, around 1,000 are considered potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) because they have a size greater than 140 meters and come within 0.05 astronomical units (7.5 million kilometers) of Earth’s orbit. However, not all of these PHAs pose an actual threat of impact on Earth.