KEY POINTS

  • The asteroid is featured in ESA's Risk List and Priority List
  • The asteroid is taller than most well-known skyscrapers

The European Space Agency (ESA) has detected a new massive asteroid that has a non-zero impact possibility on Earth 30 years from now.

The dangerous asteroid has been identified as 2020 DB5. It was recently included in the ESA’s Risk List, which catalogs all known asteroids that have non-zero impact probabilities. This means all asteroids featured in this list have chances of colliding with the planet, however rather slim. 

"The Risk List is a catalogue of all objects for which a non-zero impact probability has been detected. Each entry contains details on the Earth approach posing the highest risk of impact," ESA explained. 

Aside from the Risk List, 2020 DB5 is also being monitored by the ESA through its Priority List. According to the agency, asteroids on this list are tracked constantly due to the danger they pose to Earth.

Data collected by the ESA on 2020 DB5 revealed that it has an estimated diameter of 500 meters wide, making it significantly taller than most well-known skyscrapers such as the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia and the Shanghai World Financial Center in China.

Due to its size, 2020 DB5 is currently the second-largest asteroid featured in ESA’s Risk List. Trailing behind it is the famous 375-meter-tall Apophis asteroid, which was named after the Egyptian God of Chaos.

According to the ESA, 2020 DB5 is an Amor asteroid. Although Amor asteroids are not known to cross Earth’s orbit, 2020 DB5’s current trajectory could still change, causing it to collide with Earth.

The ESA confirmed that based on its observations on the asteroid’s orbit, it discovered that it has a chance of impacting Earth on June 8, 2049. The agency noted that the massive asteroid is moving at a velocity of almost 32,000 miles per hour.

According to the ESA’s calculations, the asteroid’s chances of hitting Earth in 2049 are one out of 5.4 million.

Asteroid Impacts A new report indicates that a total of 26 nuclear-level asteroid impacts have hit Earth since 2000. Photo: Donald Davis