The tumultuous events of 2020 have brought an array of complications to our daily lives, which is why news of two asteroids projected to come close to hitting Earth in the next few months was greeted with some concern. Would we have to deal with the fallout of a galactic natural disaster, too?
Fortunately, that is highly unlikely to happen.
Writing for SYFY.com, astronomer Phil Plait explains that while one of these asteroids—dubbed 2018 VP1—is expected to come close to our planet on November 2, the chances of it hitting us are very small. The odds are roughly 1 in 240, or about 0.4 percent. (It’s difficult to say with utter certainty because the orbit of the asteroid is not fully known.) If it does happen to “hit” Earth, the 2-meter (6.5-foot) object will probably just burn up in the atmosphere.
The other asteroid, 2011 ES4, is quite a bit larger at an estimated 20 to 40 meters (66 to 131 feet) and will likely come close to Earth on September 1. But no current projections have it striking the planet, as it falls outside the “cone” of travel that would see it have an impact.
Owing to its size, 2011 ES4 would be a bit more worrisome: An asteroid that large burning in the atmosphere could create enough force to produce a shock wave and cause property damage.
Whatever else 2020 may bring, getting concussed by a detonating asteroid is probably not on the list.