In yet another 2020 surprise, NASA data has predicted that a small asteroid heading towards the Earth has a 0.41 per cent chance of hitting the planet one day before the US presidential election that is scheduled for November 3.NASA scientists have predicted that the asteroid “2018VP1” with a diameter of 0.002 km (about 6.5 feet) will pass near Earth one day before the 2020 US election, reports the CNN. Also Read - Closest Flyby Ever Detected! SUV-Sized Asteroid Zooms Past Earth 2950 Kms Above Southern Indian Ocean
It was first identified at Palomar Observatory in California in 2018.
NASA says there are three potential impacts. But “based on 21 observations spanning 12.968 days,” the US space agency has determined the asteroid probably won’t have a deep impact. Earlier, a car-sized asteroid flew past our home planet over the last weekend, in the closest flyby of such space rocks on record and scientists hardly had any information about it until it departed.
The asteroid passed 2,950 kilometers above the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday at 12.08 am EDT (9.38 pm India time), NASA said.
The vast majority of Near-Earth Asteroids or NEAs pass by safely at much greater distances — usually much farther away than the Moon.
The first image of this record-setting space rock, asteroid 2020 QG, was taken by a NASA-funded facility six hours after the closest point of approach as the asteroid was heading away from Earth.
The SUV-sized asteroid was discovered by two students of IIT-Bombay, hailing from Pune and Haryana.
The students are Kunal Deshmukh and Kriti Sharma — working on a research project to hunt for Near-Earth Asteroids — who discovered the celestial object just hours later using data from the robotic Zwicky Transient Facility, (ZTF), California.