We have good news – the odds of a newly-discovered meteor smashing into Earth have dropped dramatically.
And it’s just as well, too, as the asteroid named 2023 DW which was first spotted last month has the potential to take out an entire city.
It had previously been suggested that the meteor could have struck the planet on Valentine's Day 2046. However, the European Space Agency said this week that the chances of such an event happening have dramatically lowered since it was first observed [via phys.org].
2023 DW was discovered by an observatory in Chile last month and is thought to be around 50 metres long.
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At one point it was given odds of 432 to one to hit Earth, and it sparked fears after rising to the top of NASA and ESA lists of asteroids that pose a threat to our planet.
However, the good news is that the head of the ESA's planetary defense office, Richard Moissl, told AFP it had now fallen to one in 1,584.
"It will go down now with every observation until it reaches zero in a couple of days at the latest," he said. "No one needs to be worried about this guy."
NASA's planetary defense officer Lindley Johnson also told AFP: "We tend to be a little more conservative, but it definitely appears to now have a downward trend in probability.”
Comets like this one can potentially pose major threats to Earth. However, there are ways we can defend our planet from such impacts.
NASA’s DART craft managed to knock the asteroid Dimorphos off course, in what became the first case of planetary defences being tested.
Davide Farnocchia from NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies said the “DART mission gives us confidence that such a mission would be successful" against 2023 DW and others like it should it be needed.
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