Once again, asteroid 2018VP1 is back in the news. The now-famous asteroid, which is about the size of a refrigerator, and only 6.5 feet across, has been the talk of the town as it’s scheduled to hurtle towards our tiny pale blue dot on Election Day — a fitting metaphor for one of the most globally disastrous years on record. But much of the reporting around said asteroid has been pretty inaccurate. In fact, Neil deGrasse Tyson, famous scientist, says, there’s no reason to fear 2018VP1 at all — even if it does come barreling towards us on Election Day, there’s no possible way it will hit the Earth’s surface.
Due to all of the widespread fear about the asteroid, Tyson took to Instagram and his 1.4 million followers to clear the air about the rock from space. While he noted that it’s “hurtling towards us at more than 25,000 mi/hr,” he also said that “it’s not big enough to cause harm. So if the World ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the Universe.”
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Asteroid 2018VP1, a refrigerator-sized space-rock, is hurtling towards us at more than 25,000 mi/hr. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ It may buzz-cut Earth on Nov. 2, the day before the Presidential Election. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But it’s not big enough to cause harm. So if the World ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the Universe.
In fact, the chances that the asteroid would even hit Earth are basically zero. And the chances that the asteroid would even enter the atmosphere hover around .41 percent — but even if it did, against all odds, do that, the asteroid would still disintegrate in our atmosphere, due to its size.
So, if you’ve decided the world is going to end because of this asteroid that is so small that it will literally never reach the Earth’s surface, even if it does, by some cosmic, infinitesimal chance, hit our atmosphere, maybe re-think that choice. And as Tyson says — if the world ends this year, it won’t be the Universe’s fault, implying that any world-ending event would be caused by men. So perhaps we should get our own house in order before we look to the skies to blame.