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Whatever happened to the Election Day asteroid headed near Earth?

Artist's concept of a near-Earth object.
Artist's concept of a near-Earth object.NASA/JPL-Caltech

The outer space object known as the “Election Day Asteroid" must have used a mail-in ballot — it traveled past Earth before Tuesday and was nowhere close when it did, scientists say.

The planetary defenders at NASA, the European Space Agency, and other scientists know it by its formal designation of 2018 VP1, which is among the thousands of objects tracked across the solar system on an ongoing basis.

And they were watching 2018 VP1, but not with anything approaching high alert since it was pretty clear to them that there was a big chunk of space between the Earth and the asteroid that was once thought to be coming within 4,000 miles of the planet.

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"2018 VP1 hit the headlines some weeks ago, but it’s not as scary as it was made out to be,'' the European Space Agency wrote on its Twitter account. “At just ~2.4 m in size it already made its close approach, missing Earth by 62 397 km (over a 10th of the distance to the Moon) on 1 Nov.”

For the non-metric among us, the asteroid was about 8 feet in size and the closest it came was about 39,000 miles.

And for the record, while 2018 VP1 missed Election Day, the ESA reported that four other asteroids circled the Earth from a safe distance on Nov. 3.



John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.