An asteroid hurtling close to Earth is on course to buzz the globe the day before the U.S. presidential election.
According to calculations by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the refrigerator-sized space boulder has only a minuscule chance (.41%) of entering Earth’s atmosphere and is likely to be a relatively comfortable — but very close in space terms — 4,776 kilometers (about 3,000 miles) from the center of the Earth when it makes its flyby.
“So if the world ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the universe,” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said on Instagram Monday:
Asteroid 2018VP1 is hurtling through space at some 25,000 miles per hour. It was discovered two years ago when it was some 280,000 miles away.
If the asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere, it would quickly disintegrate because of its small size, per NASA Asteroid Watch. And if that happens, its fiery fall would provide a great light show potentially visible from Earth.
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