In the ongoing war against human sanity known as the year 2020, here’s a bit of bad news from the Universe’s mouthpiece, celebrity scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson: The asteroid is on its way.
It’s not a grim joke, either, though no one would be surprised if it were. But there’s a big catch here in that the asteroid isn’t that big.
Tyson made the announcement on Twitter late Saturday.
“Asteroid 2018VP1, a refrigerator-sized space-rock,” Tyson tweeted, “is hurtling towards us at more than 40,000 km/hr. It may buzz-cut Earth on Nov 2, the day before the Presidential Election. It’s not big enough to cause harm. So if the World ends in 2020, it won’t be the fault of the Universe.”
To get a sense of how little danger this asteroid really presents, know that the space object which struck the Chelyabinsk region in Russia in 2013 was moving at about the same speed but was 66 feet in diameter. It was very dangerous—the video compilation of footage from the moment the strike occurred is pretty unnerving, just see below—causing some kind of damage to over 7,200 buildings and injuries to nearly 1,500 people, but it was no world-ender by a longshot. So Tyson’s fridge-sized object is nothing next to that.
A Popular Mechanics report in 2019 indicated that there are about 20,000 “potentially dangerous” asteroids in the Earth’s neighborhood. So if for whatever reason you find the asteroid Neil deGrasse Tyson announced kind of disappointing (and some definitely will), don’t worry.
There are plenty of other candidates out there for putting a fiery, biblically-destructive cherry on top of the shit sundae that is 2020.