Asteroid heading towards Earth expected to pass on eve of US presidential elections


AUGUST 23, 2020

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) said on Saturday that an asteroid identified as 2018VP1 is heading towards planet Earth.

In a statement, the space organisation went on to state that there is a 0.41 per cent chance of the 6.5 feet-long asteroid hitting the planet. This prediction was based on 21 observations of the asteroid over the course of 12.968 days.

The asteroid is expected to pass near Earth on the eve of November 2, the day of the US presidential election, said the Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).

Responsible for observing asteroids it counts as Near Earth Objects (NEOs), the CNEOS software detects their approach. “As they orbit the Sun, NEOs can occasionally approach close to Earth,” the agency which is part of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says on its website. It goes on to add, that a “close” passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms, millions or even tens of millions of kilometers.

First discovered at the Palomar Observatory in California in 2018, asteroid 2018VP1 is not considered a “potentially hazardous object”, according to NASA data cited by the Independent. The data released by the space agency has also revealed that this particular asteroid could have three potential impacts on planet Earth.

Just earlier this month, an asteroid the size of an SUV flew past Earth. Asteroid 2020 QG that passed 2,950 kilometres above the southern Indian Ocean was the closest an asteroid has come to the planet. NASA said, “If it had actually been on an impact trajectory, it would likely have become a fireball as it broke up in Earth’s atmosphere, which happens several times a year.”

Courtesy/Source: India Today