Asteroid On Course To Collide With Earth The Day Before Election, Says Neil DeGrasse Tyson, But Won’t Do Harm
There is a small chance that an asteroid on course to collide with Earth will hit the day before the presidential election, according to Neil deGrasse Tyson — but don’t worry. At the size of a refrigerator, it’s not big enough to do any harm.
The astrophysicist took to social media to share the news, and probably gave his followers a momentary panic attack. “Asteroid 2018VP1, a refrigerator-sized space-rock, is hurtling towards us at more than 40,000 km/hr. It may buzz-cut Earth on Nov 2, the day before the Presidential Election,” the post started.
Luckily, he followed with the next sentence: “It’s not big enough to cause harm.” He ended the post with a joke, writing, “So if the World ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the Universe.”
The asteroid, which scientists discovered in November 2018, has a .41% chance of entering the Earth’s atmosphere, according to NASA’s asteroid watch. Scientists say it is about 6.5 feet long and would burn up before reaching the ground if it were to enter the atmosphere.
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
According to NASA, there are no known asteroids that pose a threat to human life on Earth for the next 100 years. Sensors run by the United States government have found that over the last 20 years, almost 600 asteroids measuring less than a few meters have entered the atmosphere, creating bolides, or fireballs. NASA estimates that larger asteroids, like the 55-foot-wide one that exploded over Russia in 2013, may enter Earth’s atmosphere once or twice a century, and even larger asteroids are incredibly rare, happening once over many centuries or millennia.
Asteroids are made up of the “rocky remnants left over from the early formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago,” according to NASA. Most asteroids in our solar system are found in the asteroid belt, which orbits the sun between Mars and Jupiter.