Alexandra Mae Jones
This November, an asteroid will swing by earth on the exact same day it did two years ago; except this time, it’s also the eve of the U.S. election.
According to the Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), run by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, when the asteroid passes by our planet on Nov. 2, it’ll be exactly two years since it last hurtled past Earth.
In 2018, 2018VP1 came within approximately 151,000 kilometres of the planet; the closest it has ever passed us by.
This year, it’s set to scream by at around 418,905 kilometres away, traveling at 9.71 kilometres per second.
While it sounds pretty far away, CNEOS keeps track of any near-Earth object (NEOs) that pass through our cosmic neighbourhood within 1.3 astronomical units of the planet.
The timing of 2018VP1’s visit is interesting for more than one reason: it will be passing our planet the day before the U.S. presidential election, on Nov. 3.
But, according to NASA, this flying space rock “poses no threat to Earth,” so doomsday is extremely unlikely.
The space agency said in a tweet on their Asteroid Watch account that “Asteroid 2018VP1 is very small, approx. 6.5 feet” and that there is only a 0.41 per cent chance that it could veer directly into Earth’s path.
If the asteroid did enter our atmosphere, “it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size,” NASA wrote.
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.
The asteroid, at around 1.8 to 3.9 metres, according to the CNEOS, could be any length from a refrigerator to a Volkswagen Beetle.
We’re set to get a bigger visitor before 2018VP1, however. On Sept. 1, an asteroid potentially as tall as the Arc de Triomphe will hurtle past Earth with only 121,298 kilometres to spare.
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World news – GB – Asteroid to swing by Earth on the eve of U.S. election