Election Day Asteroid Looms Like Omen Over 2020 Election

With all the weirdness that 2020 has brought to humankind, an Election Day asteroid for the United States almost seems

With all the weirdness that 2020 has brought to humankind, an Election Day asteroid for the United States almost seems like par for the course. NASA reports that an asteroid is set for a flyby on November 2nd, one day before the presidential election. 

Giant Asteroid: 2020?

With political turmoil at an all-time high in the US, many slogans have risen from the depths of satire to rival the campaign slogans of the country’s two main party candidates. With witty slogans like, “Any Functioning Adult: 2020,” and, “Toilet Paper and Hand Sanitizer: 2020,” for voters to represent on t-shirts and coffee mugs, it’s no surprise that, “Giant Asteroid: 2020,” has also become a forerunner.

Scientists find the rock while scanning for Near-Earth-Objects (NEOs)

But it’s possible that the universe took the joke a little too seriously. NASA scientists announced Saturday that an asteroid with a diameter of 0.0002 kilometers is set to swing close to Earth on November 2nd. The asteroid, dubbed 2018VP1, was picked up by NASA team recently.

It’s a tiny thing, really

Never to worry though, 2018 VP1 is small. In fact, uncharacteristically so given the doom and gloom so far in 2020. The space rock measures approximately 8 feet high. If it were to hit Earth’s atmosphere, it would likely disintegrate before reaching the ground. Much larger space rocks have gone toe-to-toe with Earth’s atmosphere and lost. 

Earth remains the victor versus other space rocks

In Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013, a house-sized asteroid broke up in the atmosphere over a small town. The sonic boom resulting from the asteroid’s impact with the atmosphere shattered windows and could be heard for miles.  Much smaller by comparison, 2018VP1 would cause a fireball closer in size to the one seen over the skies of Colorado earlier this year.

‘Small rock’ has ‘small chance’ of hitting the planet 

It’s also unlikely to actually impact Earth. NASA reports only a 1 in 193 chance of an impact with Earth. While that is a relatively high chance compared to other asteroids, it’s still small enough to ease concerns of those who lose sleep over imminent asteroid impacts. 

Ominous, but not a danger

In short, while it seems ominous and perhaps prophetic that an asteroid is swinging by to remind us of our mortality, it’s mostly just an interesting fact. It does seem an appropriate reminder and backdrop to one of the most consequential elections of the modern era, but it doesn’t provide enough risk to worry over. 2020 has brought plenty of woes of it’s own for people to wrestle with; luckily an asteroid will not be one as of now. Given how 2020 has gone so far, though, we’ll feel better counting an asteroid out for the year at midnight on December 31st.