We all dreaded one day this type of catastrophic scenario… this idea that in a second our world would be hit by an asteroid without anyone being able to do anything about it and that everything would disappear with a snap of the fingers…

However, this may well be the story that is looming for Valentine’s Day 2046. Indeed, astronomers discovered on February 26, 2023 “2023 DW”, an asteroid the size of a land of handball heading straight for our planet Earth. According to the first estimates of the Italian astronomer, Piero Sicoli, the asteroid would have a chance of crashing in the middle of the Pacific in a corridor extending from Sri Lanka to the northeast of the United States.

As a reminder, asteroids are rocky bodies whose size can vary from a few meters to several hundred kilometers in diameter. According to the National Geographic website, NASA has identified more than one million asteroids. Today, most of the asteroids in our solar system evolve in a region located between Mars and Jupiter called the asteroid belt.

If NASA remains very alert to a possible impact in twenty years, there would be a one in 625 chance (or 0.16% chance) that it will hit our planet on February 14, 2046. Moreover, as Ouest-France specifies, “2023DW” has also been classified at level 1 of the Turin scale, which considers that a “collision is extremely unlikely, without cause for public attention or concern”.

If the impact of an asteroid still seems difficult to deflect, it is now quite possible to measure the consequences exactly and to better anticipate a violent and destructive impact. Indeed, a very powerful simulator designed by the developer Neal Agarwal, “Asteroid Launcher” has been accessible since December 5, 2022. This tool is very complete. With this simulator, you can determine all the parameters of the disaster: the size of the object, its speed, the angle of its arrival relative to the ground and the place of impact.

Journalists from Numerama have tested, thanks to the simulator, the impact of an asteroid 500 meters on the capital advancing at a speed of 17 km/s, with an impact angle of 45° and the result is frightening: clearly distinguishes on the image an imposing crater 9.7 km wide, whose crash on Paris cost the lives of more than a million people. Indeed, Neal Agarwal’s tool makes it possible to obtain a lot of information such as size, shape, appearance, shock wave, gust of wind or even the earthquake that the impact can cause. A bluffing simulation of credibility that would allow you to prepare as well as possible.