Neil deGrasse Tyson says asteroid could hit day before election

A fridge-sized space-rock is headed our way, he tweeted, one that 'may buzz-cut Earth on Nov 2.'

Famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson posted a picture of an asteroid approaching Earth saying that it could strike the planet before the election on Nov. 3. 

“Asteroid 2018VP1, a refrigerator-sized space-rock, is hurtling towards us at more than 40,000 km/hr,” he wrote in a tweet Saturday. “It may buzz-cut Earth on Nov 2, the day before the Presidential Election.”

He noted that the asteroid is “not big enough to cause harm. So if the World ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the Universe.” 

Despite the warning, NASA has previously confirmed that the asteroid has a less than 1% chance of actually striking the Earth. 

In this February photo, Neil deGrasse Tyson speaks onstage at National Geographic’s Los Angeles Premiere Of “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Westwood, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for National Geographic)

In a reply to Tyson’s tweet, a user asked him: “Do we have a plan if a larger asteroid was on a path to strike Earth?”

“Nope, ” he replied. “Actually, we do have plans, but none of them are funded.”

Another user wrote, “Technically everything is the fault of the Universe, Neil.”

To which he replied, “…not the results of Presidential Elections.”

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NASA researchers cataloging “near-Earth objects” have discovered more than 19,000 of them since the agency began keeping the record in 1998. 

The approaching asteroid of which degrasse Tyson speaks was discovered in 2018.

Another asteroid passed within 1,830 miles of Earth on Aug. 16 of this year. That was the closest known, non-impacting asteroid, according to NASA officials. 

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That asteroid also posed no danger to people on the ground due to its size. However, it worried astronomers because it went undetected until it passed the planet. 

“The asteroid approached undetected from the direction of the sun,” Paul Chodas, the director of NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, told Business Insider. “We didn’t see it coming.”

Although the approaching asteroid poses virtually no risk to the planet, the warning struck many on social media as ironic amid a year that has seen a global pandemic and other calamities. 

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