An asteroid is headed toward Earth just before Election Day in the U.S. Space rock 2018VP1 will fly past Earth on Nov. 2, one day before the U.S. presidential election. At 6.5 feet in diameter, it is not considered a “potentially dangerous” near-Earth object. There are reported to be three potential impacts based on the 21 observations NASA has made of the asteroid. However, the likelihood of direct impact is less than 0.41%. “Potentially hazardous” NEOs are defined as space objects that come within 0.05 astronomical units and measure more than 460 feet in diameter.
2018VP1 was first identified at Palomar Observatory, California. At this time, there are more than 18,000 NEOs. In February, researchers in the Netherlands discovered 11 “potentially hazardous objects” that are not on NASA’s list of “potentially hazardous” near-Earth objects, using advanced artificial intelligence. A recent survey showed that Americans prefer a space program that focuses on potential asteroid impacts over sending humans back to the moon or to Mars. An asteroid strike is Earth’s biggest threat.