NASA predicted that an asteroid could hit the Earth on Monday 2 November.
The celestial object known as 2018VP1 should approach the Earth on 2 November with a 0.41% probability of hitting the planet, about one in 240 according to NASA’s calculations, moreover the space rock is so small (a diameter of about 2 meters) that if it really impacts the Earth it would be almost completely (or completely) disintegrated in contact with the Earth’s atmosphere.
2018VP1 is no surprise to scientists. As the name suggests, it was discovered in 2018 while it was about 450,000 kilometres from Earth, it has an orbital period of two years, and is currently heading back towards us, and it should pass about 5,000 kilometres from Earth, really close in space terms!
NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) risk list is included because its orbit crosses that of the Earth, but it is not classified as a potentially dangerous object (PHO/PHA, Potentially Hazardous Object/Asteroid). Such objects, in fact, in addition to having to pass very close – as 2018VP1 will actually do – must have a diameter of at least 150 meters, and are therefore potentially capable of causing disasters locally, if not regionally or even beyond.
The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was at least 10 kilometres (6 miles) in diameter on impact, after losing part of its volume on its descent.
We all remember the “Celjabinsk Meteor” which caused a thousand injuries in 2013. The object, with an estimated diameter of 15 meters and a mass of 10 thousand tons, exploded in the high atmosphere and produced a meteorite of 570 kilograms found in a lake. The numerous injured were caused by the shock wave that broke the window panes in a particularly large area.
The accident in 2013 was much less serious than the so-called “Tunguska event” in 1908, caused by an asteroid between 30 and 60 metres in diameter that destroyed tens of millions of trees in a Siberian forest. This was the most serious impact in recent times.