Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is raising the alarm that 2020 has even more bad news in store for the world. He said that there is an asteroid headed toward planet Earth, and while it probably won’t wipe out all life as we know it, that doesn’t mean the end of the world isn’t around the corner.
“Asteroid 2018VP1, a refrigerator-sized space-rock, is hurtling towards us at more than 40,000 km/hr. It may buzz-cut Earth on Nov 2, the day before the Presidential Election,” he wrote on Twitter.
Despite the potentially frightening news, he went on to explain that the asteroid isn’t large enough to end the world, but that doesn’t mean the possibility isn’t still open.
“It’s not big enough to cause harm. So if the World ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the Universe,” he added.
The message was accompanied by an image showing a massive asteroid hurtling toward Earth.
NASA has been aware of the asteroid for some time. In August, they alerted citizens of the planet that the incoming projectile won’t cause any harm, even if it does end up aiming directly for Earth, because it’s too small to survive its trip through the atmosphere.
There is a one-in-240 chance that it could strike.
“Asteroid 2018VP1 is very small, approx. 6.5 feet, and poses no threat to Earth! It currently has a 0.41% chance of entering our planet’s atmosphere, but if it did, it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size,” NASA Asteroid Watch tweeted.
Still, the fact that it is buzzing so close is worth noting, since most objects whiz by much further away than the potential 3,000 miles that this asteroid is predicted to travel near Earth. If it were to strike, it could be aimed at the U.S.
The object is actually on a two-year trajectory and this is its second time coming close, as Science Alert noted. But because it’s the size of a refrigerator, it’s far below the size that raises alarm bells for near-Earth objects (NEO). The red flag goes up when an NEO reaches about 460 feet across.
By way of comparison, the object that is thought to have taken out the dinosaurs was likely 6 miles wide on impact.
In other words, Americans won’t be off the hook for the upcoming election, but as Tyson noted, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t asteroids out there that could surprise us.
The famous scientist will be sharing more insights soon after it was announced that he was returning to his National Geographic show following the conclusion of an investigation into assault allegations made against him, as The Inquisitr previously reported.