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NASA Has Spotted a 'City-Destroying' Asteroid on a Course to Possibly Destroy LA or DC. Good News: You Don't Have to Make Plans for Valentine's Day 2046

Shutterstock Images.

You know how we all get disgusted with the with state of the world to the point we'll say we're waiting for some massive object to strike the planet and put us out of our misery? And how right around election time you start seeing bumper stickers like "Giant Comet: 2024" or whatever? I certainly find myself at times rooting for the universe to give us a little celestial chin music. Generally from some horrific news item or TikTok video, where I'll feel like maybe we'd be better off taking a four-seamer to the skull bucket. Or at the very least, a high hard one to move us off the plate and get our species' shit straightened all the way out. 

Well it sounds like we're getting our wish:

Source - NASA has warned a city-destroying asteroid about the size of the Leaning Tower of Pisa could hit Earth on Valentine's Day in 2046.  …

The predicted impact zones stretch from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and the west to the east coast of the US - with Los Angeles, Hawaii and Washington DC as possibilities.

The collision of the 165-foot 2023 DW with our planet would be comparable to the Tunguska 12-megaton event that slammed into Siberia 114 years ago.

This 160-foot asteroid caused a nuclear explosion that would have destroyed a large metropolitan area - but it landed in a forest, flattening more than 80 million trees. …

The probability of the asteroid hitting Earth has changed over the past week.

On March 1, an Italian astronomer shared NASA showed a one in 1,2000 chance, but the odds increased a day later to one in 710 - and now there is a one in 560.

It's funny how the scientists always try to downplay these things. Oh, it's a long way off, you say? You tell us you don't know exactly where 2023 DW is going to come down, if it all? You're pointing there's only one chance in 560? Nice try. 

First of all, 2046 might sound like that's forever from now. The time frame of Sci-Fi movies that feel like will never get here. For instance, Event Horizon is set in 2047. Well here's a reality check for you. Back to the Future 2 is, as the name would indicate, a futuristic movie. That takes place in 2015. The Running Man is in 2017. Blade Runner, 2019. What sounds like some nebulous, far off, distant tomorrow becomes today and then yesterday before you know it. In fact, movies like Demolition Man, about a world dominated by a culture that has outlawed offensive language and Idiocracy, in which the public is stupid, illiterate and the most popular form of entertainment is watching videos of guys getting hit in the balls, each take place in distant futures, and already we're living them. 

The point being that 2046 will get here before you know it. To the put it in perspective, it's as far from now as today was … in 2000. Life comes at you fast. 

As far as NASA not knowing exactly where 2023 DW will make deep impact: Does it really matter? This is what the Tunguska blast of 1908 did in the middle of Siberia:

Universal History Archive. Getty Images.

To go back to the baseball metaphor, the solar system doesn't need to paint the corner when we're talking about a something the size of the Tower of Pisa hurtling toward us at Randy Johnson fastball speeds. There's no padding we can put on the Earth to absorb this and keep us off the DL. 

Finally, I don't want to hear how it's "only" one chance in 560.

Giphy Images.

Like that's supposed to be comforting. First of all, because the chances of a direct hit get better (read: worse) every time they recalculate. Second, because even 560:1 is a pretty damned good likelihood, all things considered. The odds of getting a hole-in-one are 12,500:1, and yet everyone knows somebody who's gotten one. Winning an Olympic medal has odds of 662,000:1, but that doesn't stop millions from trying. The Powerball jackpot is just under 300 million-to-1, but that never dissuaded you from buying a ticket. One-in-560 is more like the chances Vegas gives some 15-seed of winning March Madness. It's just the stakes involved in CS-Fullerton winning a national title are significantly less than destruction on a worldwide, cataclysmic scale. 

So let's not waste another second. Let's start working on ways to get a scruffy, ragtag collection of misfit oil well drillers trained to fly space ships while we can. And just be glad 2023 DW is the size of an Italian tourist destination, and not a US state: