On November 2, 2020 the asteroid 2018VP1 will pass very close to Earth: it moves at a speed of 24 km per second and is the size of a small car.
The year 2020 does not stop “giving” bad surprises. After the terrible fires that plagued Australia in January, the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic and the environmental disaster of the Mauritius islands (where an oil tanker ran aground on 25 July on the coral reef poured 1000 tons of crude oil into the sea), an asteroid is also on its way. On November 2, 2020, in fact, the asteroid 2018VP1 will touch the Earth at a speed of 24 kilometers per second. According to NASA, however, there is nothing to fear: the celestial body has a diameter of just 2 meters. In other words, its dimensions are comparable to those of a utility car. Even if it were to enter a collision course with our Planet – and the percentage is very low: 0.41% – the asteroid would have to disintegrate into the atmosphere before reaching the Earth’s surface. For this reason, 2018VPI has not been included by NASA in the list of potentially dangerous celestial objects, which instead includes all asteroids and meteorites over 140 meters in diameter.
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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 (@AsteroidWatch) August 23, 2020
An asteroid will touch the Earth on November 2
The asteroid that will touch the Earth on November 2 has earned the nickname “Election Day”. Its passage will take place on the eve of the presidential election of the United States of America. 2018VP1 was discovered in 2018 and is part of the class Apollo asteroids, the Near Earth Asteroids (NEA) whose orbit has a semi-axis greater than one astronomical unit (about 150 million kilometers) and a perihelion (the point of minimum distance from the Sun) less than 1.017 astronomical units. “Election Day” is not the first asteroid that passes near our Planet in this 2020. On April 29, for example, asteroid 52768 transited “just” 6 million kilometers from our heads. The news – announced by NASA already in March – has aroused much anxiety and apprehension, especially on the web. Fortunately, also in this case, there were no collisions and the passage happened in a completely harmless way, giving astronomy enthusiasts a wonderful show. Just for its large size (52768 has an estimated diameter of 4 kilometers and is about the same size as Mount Everest) the asteroid was visible even to the naked eye and was sighted in many parts of the world, including Italy.
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