An Asteroid Is Headed Toward Us Right Before Election Day Because, Of Course

by Julie Scagell
Originally Published: 
NASA Says An Asteriod Is Headed Toward Us Right Before Election Day Because, Of Course
John Pane/Getty

While it’s not predicted to hit the Earth, there’s a slim chance it just might

Under the guise of, “Let’s get Every Bad Thing shored up in 2020,” an asteroid is predicted to come close to hitting the Earth the day before the U.S. election. Given the political climate, an election year, a pandemic, murder hornets, and mass civil unrest in the country, an asteroid would be the most on-brand situation to add to the ever-growing list.

The celestial object known as 2018VP1 is projected to come close to Earth on November 2, according to the Center for Near Earth Objects Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As its name suggests, it was discovered back in 2018 while it was around 450,000 kilometers (280,000 miles) away from Earth, so this is no surprise to scientists. Now, as it travels on its two-year orbital period, the Apollo-class asteroid is estimated to come within 4,994.76 kilometers of Earth, which is apparently very close in space terms.

Because it’s so close, there’s a slight chance (1 in 240 or 0.41 percent) that it’ll hit Earth on the day before the U.S. election on November 2nd. That may seem like similar odds to winning the lottery but it’s 2020 which means if there’s any chance of it actually making contact with us, it would most definitely be this year. The object has not been seen since 2018, which makes its trajectory somewhat of an unknown at this point.

“Asteroid 2018VP1 is very small, approximately 6.5 feet, and poses no threat to Earth. If it were to enter our planet’s atmosphere, it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size,” NASA said in a statement. “NASA has been directed by Congress to discover 90% of the near-Earth asteroids larger than 140 meters (459 feet) in size and reports on asteroids of any size.”

The asteroid was classified as “potentially hazardous” because over the course of centuries very small changes in the asteroid’s orbit around the sun could make it more of a risk.

“Close approaches by small objects of this size are not rare, and even if something of this size were to impact, the object would not likely survive the Earth’s atmosphere,” Donald Yeomans, a senior researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told The New York Times.

NASA says that, “based on 21 observations spanning 12.968 days,” the agency has determined the asteroid probably won’t have a major impact on the Earth, and while we won’t likely be calling on Bruce Willis to save us from potential extinction, it seems like it should now be somewhere on our 2020 Bingo card.

Cheers to 2020 and here’s hoping the only bang we hear near the election is Donald Trump’s mantrum on his way out.

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