The apocalyptic vibes of 2020 have extended beyond the four corners of the world. According to a recent announcement from NASA, they're now taking hold in outer space.
A 6.5-foot asteroid, known as 2018VP1, is headed toward Earth and expected to pass by on Nov. 2, the day before the 2020 presidential election, according to NASA's Center for Near-Earth Objects Studies. NASA spokespeople stressed to TODAY, however, that it's "very small" and "poses no threat to Earth."
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In fact, there's only a 0.41% chance the asteroid will even enter Earth's atmosphere, and if it does, "it would disintegrate due to its extremely small size," a statement from NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office explained.
The agency added that it's "been directed by Congress to discover 90% of the near-Earth asteroids larger than 140 meters (459 feet) in size and reports on asteroids of any size."
The asteroid was first observed back in 2018 at Palomar Observatory in California. After it approaches Earth this year, there's a chance it will pass by again in 2025. But to reiterate: "It poses no danger to our planet because if it were to enter Earth’s atmosphere it would disintegrate," a spokesperson for NASA said in an email to TODAY.
Last week, another small asteroid, between 10-20 feet across, called 2020 QG, buzzed by Earth, according to a press release from NASA. Passing by at 1,830 miles above the southern Indian Ocean on Aug. 16 at 12:08 a.m. EDT, it got closer to Earth than any other known near-Earth asteroid (NEA).
"If (2020 QG) had actually been on an impact trajectory, it would likely have become a fireball as it broke up in Earth's atmosphere, which happens several times a year," the release said.
It added that there are "hundreds of millions of small asteroids" comparable in size to 2020 QG (and even bigger than 2018VP1), but they're "extremely hard to discover until they get very close to Earth."
The majority of NEAs pass by the Earth safely, usually at a much greater distance than the moon.