Asteroid heading for Earth has .041% chance of hitting before election

Pablo Tucker
October 20, 2020

NASA said a small asteroid called 2018VP1 would be approaching Earth very closely only 24 hours before polls open in the United States for the election.

NASA took to twitter on Sunday and tweeted about the asteroid which reads, "Asteroid 2018VP1 is very small, approx".

The asteroid could hit on November 2, 2020, according to the Center for Near Earth Objects Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Considering the stakes and the year we're all having, maybe a 1 in 240 chance still feels a little high for comfort", writes Jacinta Bowler at Science Alert.

Because it's so close, there's a slight chance (1 in 240 or 0.41 percent) that it'll hit Earth on the day before the US election on November 2nd. Like the Election Day asteroid, there was no concern about it impacting Earth because it would have likely have become a fireball as it entered Earth's atmosphere.

It also only has an estimated 0.41% chance of being in the right trajectory to hit Earth anyhow.

The cosmic object is named Asteroid 2018VP1 and is expected to drop by Earth's proximity on November 2, a day ahead of the November 3 Presidential Elections in the country. Even if the asteroid enters the Earth, it would break up to small pieces and show a bright display of meteor shower. Asteroid 2020 HF4 is about 26 to 60 feet (8 to 18 meters) across, but will remain much farther away, about 16 times the distance of the moon, according to NASA. However, this is a small asteroid with an even smaller chance of causing any damage to our planet. Only once every few million years, an object large enough to threaten Earth's civilization comes along.

"Asteroids in general that come back to Earth do swing back at later times", Lu said, adding that it could be a "teaching moment" for researchers and the public in part because of how hit or miss asteroid tracking is at the moment.

It was discovered in 2018 by NASA, and could come as close as 4,700 feet from Earth.

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