Yes, an Election Eve Asteroid Is Coming. No, It's Not a Threat

Provided by Evening Standard An asteroid near Earth

An asteroid has a slim chance of putting us out of our misery on November 2 as it heads toward Earth one day before the USA election, according to NASA. The asteroid, which will pass from the closest position to Earth the day before the USA elections, has only 0.41% chance of hitting Earth. First discovered in November of 2018 at California's Palomar Observatory, 2018VP1 has had close encounters with the Earth in 1970. Its trajectory has a high uncertainty, since it hasn't been seen since its discovery, but it has a two-year orbital period which means it is on its way back to us. According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, it is now the closest known non-impacting asteroid.

NASA has said there is a 0.41 per cent, or 1 in 240 chance that 2018VP1 would impact the Earth. And they are technically true: An asteroid named 2018VP1 is indeed heading our way, and it will be closest on November 2.

That's about 2 meters long, like a refrigerator. Even if the asteroid does enter our planet's atmosphere, it is unlikely to cause any harm on November 2.

"The data looked like all other Near Earth Asteroids we have seen so far", said Deshmukh, 20, from Pune, who is a final year student in the Department of Metallurgy and Materials Science, IIT-Bombay.

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NASA does monitor potentially unsafe asteroid approaches but celestial objects of such small size are not as easy to spot until they come closer to the Earth. If it did strike our environment, it would entirely break down up above us and pose no threat to anybody listed below.

Asteroids that are still on the smaller side but are bigger than VP1 may still pass through the atmosphere but will only inflict damage to the local area it impacts.

Notably, majority of Near Earth Asteroids, or NEAs pass by safely at much greater distances.

Last week, it was revealed that an asteroid the size of a auto had flown 1,830 miles (2,950km) above the southern Indian Ocean - closer than any seen before without hitting the planet.

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