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AN ASTEROID is heading for Earth and could slam into the planet the night before the hotly contested US presidential election.
The space rock, known as 2018VP1, is hurtling towards us at an estimated 21,300mph and could strike on November 2, according to the Center for Near Objects Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
It comes after Donald Trump has suggested November’s presidential election be postponed, saying increased postal voting could lead to fraud and inaccurate results.
It is expected more people than ever will be voting by mail because of public health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump’s bid to reschedule the election failed ultimately failed — but now an asteroid is heading for Earth the day before ballot box votes are cast.
The rock is seven feet in diameter and NASA estimates that it weighs about 35,273lbs.
VP1 has been on the radar since November 2018 when it was first spotted by the Paloma Observatory in California.
But before you hunker down in your bunker, NASA says the chances of it hitting Earth is about one in 240, or 0.41 per cent.
Should it strike earth though it would release an estimated 0.00042 megatons of energy (0.42 kilotons).
Yet although this would do damage, it is 7,500 times smaller than the meteor that was believed to have killed the dinosaurs.
The meteor has around a 1 in 240 chance of hitting Earth. Here are some things with similar odds of happening:
“If a rocky meteoroid larger than 25m but smaller than one kilometre – a little more than half-a-mile – were to hit Earth, it would likely cause local damage to the impact area.
“We believe anything larger than one to two kilometres – one kilometre is a little more than one-half mile – could have worldwide effects.”
The asteroid will likely come as close as between 4,700 miles and 260,000 miles of Earth, according to Forbes.
There are three potential impacts, but none are expected to be disastrous based off 21 observations over 13 days.
If it were to hit the atmosphere, the asteroid is so small that it would only look really bright before breaking up into tiny pieces, WHIO reports.
For the past 290 million years, large asteroids have been crashing into Earth more than twice as often as they did in the previous 700 million years, according to a 2019 study in the journal Science.
Asteroids still only hit Earth on average every million or few million years, even with the increased crash rate.
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World news – US – Asteroid named VP1 on collision course to Earth could hit night before election