What We Know About the ‘Election Day’ Asteroid Heading Near Earth

The object has a .04 percent chance of hitting Earth, would disintegrate if it reaches atmosphere
August 24, 2020 Updated: August 24, 2020

NASA on Saturday said that a small asteroid is headed toward Earth one day before Election Day in November, although the object has around a 0.40 percent chance of actually hitting the planet.

If the object entered Earth’s atmosphere, it would disintegrate due to its “extremely small size,” a NASA spokesperson said over the weekend.

NASA scientists have predicted that the asteroid dubbed “2018VP1” with a diameter of about 6.5 feet will pass close to the Earth on Nov. 2, CNN reported, citing data from the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS), from Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The agency said that “based on 21 observations spanning 12.968 days,” it didn’t believe a direct asteroid impact was likely.

“Asteroid 2018 VP1 is very small, approx. 6.5 feet [2 meters], and poses no threat to Earth!” NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office wrote Sunday. “It currently has a 0.41 percent chance of entering our planet’s atmosphere, but if it did, it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size.”

The space rock also will remain far from the Earth, or about 260,000 miles away, according to Space.com.

The object was discovered by the Palomar Observatory in California in 2018.

“NASA has been directed by Congress to discover 90 percent of the near-Earth asteroids larger than 140 meters (459 feet) in size and reports on asteroids of any size,” a NASA spokesperson told The Hill.