NASA Plots Three Potential Impacts of Asteroid Aimed at Earth Before Election Day

An asteroid is projected to come close to the Earth on November 2, a day before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the Center for Near Earth Objects Studies (CNEOS) at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed.

The asteroid known as 2018VP1, first identified at Palomar Observatory in San Diego County, California, has a diameter of 0.002 kilometers (over 6.5 feet), according to the data.

Three potential impacts have been identified and the chance of the asteroid hitting the Earth was reported to be 0.41 percent, according to the NASA data, CNN reported.

However, "based on 21 observations spanning 12.968 days," the agency determined the asteroid will probably not have a deep impact, CNN reported.

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Newsweek has contacted the CNEOS for comment and more information.

Asteroids are small, rocky objects that orbit the sun and are much smaller in size than planets. Some asteroids are hundreds of miles in diameter, but many more are as small as pebbles, NASA explained.

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"Asteroids are left over from the formation of our solar system. Our solar system began about 4.6 billion years ago when a big cloud of gas and dust collapsed. When this happened, most of the material fell to the center of the cloud and formed the sun," NASA explained.

Back in April, an asteroid known as 1998 OR2, measuring between 1.1 and 2.5 miles wide and traveling at a speed of around 19,500 mph (miles per hour), made a close approach to the Earth.

The asteroid was classified as "potentially hazardous" because over the course of centuries or millennia, very small changes in the asteroid's orbit around the sun could make it more of a risk to our planet than it currently poses.

The 1998 OR2 asteroid is one of the brightest and largest known potentially hazardous asteroids.

Back in January, 14 asteroids were reported to be on track to pass Earth, one of which measured 1,800 feet across, making it wider than the Empire State Building is tall.

"There are lots of asteroids in our solar system. Most of them live in the main asteroid belt—a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, NASA said.

NASA reports any asteroid—or near-Earth object (NEO)—that is expected to make a close approach.

NEOs can occasionally approach close to Earth as they orbit the sun. "Note that a 'close' passage astronomically can be very far away in human terms: millions or even tens of millions of kilometers," CNEOS explained.

To be qualified as having a close approach, the NEO must be within 121 million miles (195 million kilometers) of the Sun and within 30 million miles (50 million kilometers) of Earth's orbit around the sun.

NASA image of asteroid Eros February 2000
A mosaic image of asteroid Eros at its north pole, taken by the robotic NEAR Shoemaker space probe on February 14, 2000 immediately after the spacecraft's insertion into orbit. NASA/Newsmakers via Getty Images
NASA Plots Three Potential Impacts of Asteroid Aimed at Earth Before Election Day | News