We often hear stories about asteroids and materials from space making approaches to Earth's atmosphere, but honestly, some of them are very mind-blowing. Although most are pretty far away, some are much closer than anyone would ever think.
Thanks to NASA's Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) initiative, asteroids approaching near our planet are no longer a rare phenomenon to observe.
Currently, there are researchers who track NEOs and asteroids that will reach us soon, these researchers have been doing this for many years. They do so to keep us aware of the mysterious things going on in space and they spend efforts to weigh out the odds of different space rocks hitting the Earth, which for most of them is unlikely.
News of one NEO that will be passing Earth this year in November has been making headlines and people are even making videos about it on the internet.
An asteroid is a celestial body consisting of rocks and metals, its size can range from a few centimeters to several kilometers. The history of asteroids dates back to the origins of the solar system, nearly 4.56 billion years ago. The most widely accepted theory so far is that they result from rock fragments that couldn't combine to form a whole planet.
Should we be worried?
Luckily, this asteroid "2018 VP1" won't be slamming into our planet. It will only pass us by without causing problems, but still, it will be very close compared to some we've previously experienced.
Expert astronomer Mike Murray told MLive that even if the asteroid was slamming down on Earth, he still wouldn't panic – for a couple of good reasons. The first one is that the asteroid isn't big at only 6 feet across. This asteroid would have to be 20 times larger to do great damage to one city. That's if the asteroid managed to hold together in one piece and hit our planet.
Murray reassured people by saying that asteroids of this size usually explode entering Earth's atmosphere, or break up into many small pieces.
Sure, there are things we don't know about this asteroid, but so far, this one doesn't seem to pose any sort of threat to us.
CBS Detroit wrote as follows, mentioning an instance when a larger space rock came into contact with Earth:
"On February 15, 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor entered the earth's atmosphere over Russia over the southern Ural region. This asteroid was 11 times larger than "2018 VP1" at 66 feet across and was shared on social media everywhere as it appeared brighter than the sun and was visible up to 62 miles away. The Chelyabinsk meteor exploded about 97,000 feet in the air with the force of 400-500 kilotons of TNT, or 26-33 times the energy of the "Little Boy" atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. The atmosphere absorbed most of that blast and people were injured from broken windows from nearby buildings. It ended up exploding in an air burst into many pieces. Astronomer Mike Murray says "2018 VP1" would probably break apart or explode like the Chelyabinsk meteor and most that do impact the earth."
At the moment, astronomers consider that for now, we're safe. But as "2018 VP1" gets closer to us, hopefully, experts will be able to make more measurements and learn more about the asteroid's orbit.
While it may sound alarming, there's nothing to be worried about. Our planet will be just fine, and so will you.