An asteroid is due to pass extremely close to Earth, just ahead of Election Day in November. But there’s no reason to worry — NASA says this space rock poses no risk to our planet.
Asteroid 2018 VP1 will zoom past Earth on November 2, one day before Americans vote for the next president. In a year where unpredictable disasters have seemingly become routine, NASA is working hard to calm fears of a potential collision.
According to the space agency, even if this asteroid did hit Earth’s atmosphere, it would be too small to do any damage.
“Asteroid 2018VP1 is very small, approx. 6.5 feet, and poses no threat to Earth!,” NASA Asteroid Watch tweeted Sunday. “It currently has a 0.41% chance of entering our planet’s atmosphere, but if it did, it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size.”
Asteroid 2018VP1 is very small, approx. 6.5 feet, and poses no threat to Earth! It currently has a 0.41% chance of entering our planet’s atmosphere, but if it did, it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size.
— NASA Asteroid Watch (@AsteroidWatch) August 23, 2020
Scientists at the Zwicky Transient Facility at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory discovered the asteroid in 2018. Since then, they’ve struggled to track its location and trajectory due to its small size.
NASA researchers have been formally cataloging “near-Earth objects” since 1998, discovering around 19,000 of them so far. None of the known objects that could be potentially hazardous to the planet are on track to pass Earth in the near future.
In fact, asteroids fly past Earth all the time — sometimes without us even knowing it. Just last week, an asteroid became the closest ever recorded, flying within 1,830 miles of Earth, and scientists weren’t even aware of its existence until hours it had already passed our planet.