Trust internet jibber-jabber to spark cosmic hysteria. Armageddon click bait drools over any opportunity to create viral asteroid calamity. Today it’s asteroid 2018 VP1, a 2 meter rock with 0.4% chance of entering our atmosphere on November 2nd.
First identified on November 3, 2018 at Palomar Observatory in California at a distance of 450,000 Km from Earth, 2018 VP1 was observed for 12.9 days. It hasn’t been seen since. NASA scientists at JPL Horizons used distance, angle and speed to calculate a two year orbit. Pipsqueak 2018 VP1 is expected to return on or about November 3, 2020. A lot can happen in two years after only 12.9 days of observation, enter LOV, the line of variation. LOV dictates orbital swing from direct impact to unremarkable pass-by 3.7 million Km away. Either way, 2018 VP1 doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. Too small to classify as a PHA (potentially hazardous asteroid), so small that atmosphere would fry it long before surface contact.
I’m all for cosmic awareness, delight in media coverage off all things space. That said, few things frost me more than doomsday internet froth promoting cosmic annihilation.