Neil Degrass Tyson warns of a possible asteroid collision with Earth before Election Day

Neil Degrass Tyson warns of a possible asteroid collision with Earth before Election Day

This year has thrown a lot of wild things on the Earth’s inhabitants. Over the course of 2020 – so far, there are just over two months left – we have faced a global pandemic with COVID-19, devastating wildfires, kill wasps, poisonous cotton larvae, and a controversial US presidential election cycle to count a few things. It’s a lot and now we can add one more thing to our ever-growing 2020 horror bingo card: an asteroid rushing toward Earth. That’s right, according to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, there is an asteroid that could strike Earth on November 2 – the day before the election.

On Twitter, Tyson shared that the fridge-sized Asteroid 2018VP1 space rock is on its way to “bumbling” Earth the day before the presidential election, but people shouldn’t be too anxious. Although the asteroid is heading towards us at speeds of more than 40,000 kilometers per hour, it is not large enough to cause damage. As Tyson said, “If the world ends in 2020, it wouldn’t be the universe’s fault.”

We seem to be stuck with COVID-19 and the killing wasps for a little longer after that.

Regardless of all the jokes about the apocalypse, it is not uncommon for asteroids to pass close to Earth. Earlier this year, NASA was observing another asteroid – this is much larger, roughly the size of the Empire State Building -.

“The asteroid 2002 NN4 is 250-570 meters (820-1,870 feet) in diameter, according to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The iconic Empire State Building in New York City is more than 1,400 feet at its tip,” CBS wrote News. A representative from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory told CBS News: “The asteroid may look daunting, but it will pass Earth at a safe distance.”

It was June so since you’re reading this article, things seem to be going well. According to NASA’s Center for Earth Object Studies, many objects regularly pass through Earth, with near objects being anything within 4.6 million miles of the planet.

But while this latter asteroid does not appear to be something that would cause any real harm, not all asteroids pass without damage. An asteroid hit Russia in 2013, injuring 1,600 people, so it’s not impossible for the universe to get us out of it yet.

You can check more about Asteroid 2018VP1 via the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory website here.

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