Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweets about US election day asteroid approaching Earth on 2 Nov

The Asteroid 2018VP1 is currently flying at a speed more than 40,000 km per hour but isnt “big enough” to cause any harm.


A few days ago renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sent out a word of warning, talking about a “refrigerator-sized space-rock” that was approaching Earth and was going to buzz-cut our planet on 2 November, the day before the US presidential elections.

The tweet has managed to create curiosity among the netizens about the ‘Election Day Asteroid’ and the harm it might carry for us. Tyson, however, said that the Asteroid 2018VP1, which is currently flying at a speed more than 40,000 km per hour, is not “big enough” to cause harm. He then jokingly added that if the world somehow was going to end in 2020, it is not going to be the fault of the Universe.

 Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson tweets about US election day asteroid approaching Earth on 2 Nov

Scientists have said that there is no reason for 2018VP1 to enjoy such buzz as asteroids this small hit the Earth several times per year.
Image credit: ESA-ScienceOffice.org

Going by the track record of the wide-ranging damage brought upon us in 2020, many people believed that the ‘Election Day asteroid’ could bring about an end of life. But NASA has maintained that the space rock posed “no threat” to Earth. The 6.5 feet inch asteroid has a 0.41 per cent or one in 240 chance of entering our world’s atmosphere. But even if it did, there is still no apparent danger as 2018VP1 would “disintegrate due to its extremely small size”.

Moreover, scientists are saying that there is no reason for 2018VP1 to enjoy such buzz as asteroids this small hit the Earth several times per year. Bill Bottke, director of the department of space studies at the Southwest Research Institute, added that we were lucky as we detected it before it made a close encounter.

For comparison, the Chicxulub impactor that led to the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs from the planet some 66 million years ago, was nearly 10 km wide.

The asteroid 2018VP1 was first discovered at the Palomar Observatory in California’s San Diego County in 2018 and hence the mention of the year in its name. NASA has detailed information catalogued for the asteroid in its JPL Small-Body Database Browser.


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