An asteroid hurtling close to Earth is on course to buzz the globe the day before the US presidential election.
According to calculations by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the refrigerator-sized space boulder has only a minuscule chance (.41%) of entering Earth’s atmosphere and is likely to be a relatively comfortable — but very close in space terms — 4,776 kilometres (about 3,000 miles) from the surface of the Earth when it makes its flyby.
“So if the world ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the universe,” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson said on Instagram on Monday:
Asteroid 2018VP1 is hurtling through space at some 25,000 miles per hour. It was discovered two years ago when it was some 280,000 miles away.
If the asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere, it would quickly disintegrate because of its small size, per NASA Asteroid Watch. And if that happens, its fiery fall would provide a great light show potentially visible from Earth.