The asteroid of only two meters that according to NASA almost certainly will not impact on Earth and about which so much has been published for a year

“Asteroid Will Approach Earth Dangerously in November”. “Another space threat? NASA warns of possible asteroid impact with Earth”. “NASA warns of super-fast asteroid that could hit Earth in 2020”. For a year and a half, 2018 VP1 has appeared repeatedly in the media.

But is there really a risk that this asteroid will hit Earth? It is dangerous? Let’s start at the beginning: specifically by on November 3, 2018 when a group of astronomers they found 2018 VP1 in the vastness of the universe. It was for a very short time. The necessary to catalog it, but not enough to determine precisely what its exact orbit would be. That’s where the party started.

And, indeed, and as far as we know, between November 2 and 3 of this year the asteroid will pass “close” to Earth. Cosmologically close, of course: about 450,000 km from Earth. That is, further from the Earth’s surface than the Moon. That is the most reliable estimate, but as I say the data is very imprecise and we have a margin of error of four million kilometers. Therefore, effectively, it can be said that yes, that there are chances of it impacting the Earth: one in 240. From there it gets a lot less exciting.

A space marble at 30,000 kilometers per hour

Simulation of the 2018 VP1 passing through our neighborhood. The blue point is Earth; yellow, the Moon; and the pink one, the asteroid.

Another of the data that is never lacking in the information about the 2018 VP1 is that it comes at an enormous speed: little more than 30,000 kilometers per hour. However, it is not the most relevant data if we really want to assess the dangerousness of this celestial body. The fundamental data is its size. There, as our old friends the dinosaurs well know, is where we play.

Well then, the 2018 VP1 measures two meters in diameter. Yes, you read correctly. It is not a typo. Two meters in diameter. This, translated into real effects that it can cause on planet Earth, it becomes the absolute nothing. If the asteroid ends up crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere at the beginning of November of this year, it will transform into a beautiful fireball that may perhaps be seen by a fisherman in the South Pacific. Little more.

But I take a long time that all this will not matter. There are still months until November and we have more than enough time to hear again (again and again) about this very dangerous asteroid that could impact the Earth. It is not worth getting angry. As much, sit on the terrace, open a light cola and enjoy a good dose of science fiction.