In this way the real truth about ‘Election Day’, its asteroid on the way to Earth

If you saw the news today, you would be forgiven for thinking that a huge asteroid is on track to hit Earth one day before the 2020 US presidential election.

At least this is a takeaway from quite a few news outlets. And, understandably, some people are freaking out. With a literal pandemic in a year, an asteroid collision actually puts a cherry on top of a terrible, terrible, no good, very bad cake.

But we have good news for you! Despite the headlines, there is no need to worry about this particular asteroid – known as 2018VP1.

The 2018VP1 is not surprising for scientists. As its name suggests, it was discovered back in 2018 while it was 450,000 kilometers (280,000 mi) away from Earth.

It has got a two-year orbital period, and it is currently coming back to us again.

Fortunately, this is not one of the many asteroids that we are not aware of until they have already exploded, or been blown up by them.

However, this time, the Apollo-class asteroid is estimated to be within 4,994.76 kilometers of Earth. It is really close to space.

And because it is so close, there is a slight chance (1 in 240 or 0.41 percent) that it will hit the Earth on 2 November 2020, the day before the US presidential election.

Considering the stakes and the year, all but one of us 240 probably still feel a little too much for comfort. We got it.

Well, we have more good news. Even if the 2018VP1 is lucky to have an asteroid that is a date with our light blue dot, there are huge possibilities that it still won’t hurt you.

Why? Well, it is only the size of a small car – about 2 meters (7 feet) in diameter. Such asteroids do not have access to mass damage.

NASA’s list of potentially dangerous items has a minimum cut of 140 meters (460 ft). The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was at least 10 kilometers (6 mi) in diameter in impact, as some of its quantity was lost in its descent.

The size of the 2018VP1 will easily burn in the atmosphere long before the asteroids make it to the ground.

Therefore, although there is every chance that one killer asteroid may crash into Earth one day, the 2018VP1 is not that asteroid.

But this does not mean that we cannot be prepared for those asteroids that pose a risk. NASA and other space agencies around the world are working on making us better at detecting these ‘near Earth objects’, and one day, possibly even deflecting them.

So, at least for now, the US November election will go ahead – or, at least, this asteroid is not going to dent the democratic process.

We are not sure how these stories started, but not long after, NASA Asteroid Watch Tweeted a response explaining the size, and (much less) the potential for impact.

2020 has been quite a year, but at least we don’t have to add a ‘deadly asteroid’ to the list of horrors. at least not yet.


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