NASA Says an Asteroid Is Projected to Head Towards Earth a Day Before Nov. 3 Election
There could be the possibility of an asteroid zooming toward Earth in addition to the variety of major events this year, including the coronavirus pandemic.
The asteroid, which was first identified at Palomar Observatory, California, in 2018, is not considered hazardous.
"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 said on Twitter.
NASA concluded that "based on 21 observations spanning 12.968 days," the asteroid is almost sure to not have a deep impact on Earth.
"Close approaches by small objects of this size are not rare, and even if something of this size were to impact, the object would not likely survive the Earth’s atmosphere," Donald Yeomans, a senior researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, told the New York Times.
An asteroid flew just 1,830 miles over the southern Indian Ocean last week, which marks the closest nonimpacting asteroid that has flown past Earth on record, according to NASA.
"It's really cool to see a small asteroid come by this close, because we can see the Earth’s gravity dramatically bend its trajectory,” Paul Chodas, director of Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), said.
“Our calculations show that this asteroid got turned by 45 degrees or so as it swung by our planet," he added.