Breakdown: Why we are watching an asteroid closely

Why we are monitoring an asteroid closely

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the sun. They are similar to planets but much smaller than planets. There are a lot of asteroids within our solar systems and most are located in an area between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, which is called the asteroid belt.

Asteroids have been making close encounters to earth for millions of years. Most asteroids disintegrate in the earth’s atmosphere.

Lately, there has been some speculation about an asteroid called 2018 VP1 that could hit around election day. The asteroid was discovered on November 3, 2018 at an observatory in Southern California. VP1 was discovered as a faint new “near-Earth asteroid” which is an object whose orbit can approach, or intersect, that of our planet.

According to astrobiologists the asteroid is about 6 feet in diameter and is expected to pass within 300 miles of our planet on November 2, 2020.

An asteroid bigger than the Empire State Building is passing by Earth next week.
An asteroid bigger than the Empire State Building is passing by Earth next week.

Here’s why there is no need to be concerned with VP1:

According to NASA the chance of it hitting the earth is just 0.41%, according to data.

Astrobiologists also point out that if it were to strike the earth and cause damage, it would have to be 20 times larger to do damage to a city. And 2018 VP1 is so small that it would most likely burn up in our atmosphere before it reached the ground. It is more metal in its makeup as opposed to the more icy or stony asteroid but again even if it were to make it to the ground, it is too small to cause any major damage.

The asteroid is being monitored and as it gets closer more measurements can be done and astrobiologists will be able to determine the asteroid’s orbit.

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