False Armageddon ☄️

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Inbound asteroid? 
Tom Foreman from CNN reported on Friday that a big asteroid is expected to ‘brush by’ Earth on February 4th. He noted that NASA reportedly halted their monitoring of dangerous asteroids during the 2013 government shutdown, and with the latest government shutdown (note: now over) this asteroid could be getting close to earth with no one keeping an eye on it. Other news outlets hail this as a scam, pointing out that NASA has been documenting the asteroid’s movement for 14 years, and that it will be 2.6 million miles away.

Asteroid factoids
The asteroid’s name is 2002 AJ129, and it is taller than the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world (.51 miles tall). The space rock is considered “potentially dangerous” by NASA, because it is larger than 460 ft, and is coming within 4.65 million miles of Earth. However, this is a fairly common occurrence. Just within the last month there have been several such “potentially dangerous” asteroids coming closer to earth than 2002 AJ129 will.



The right is calling this a left-wing scheme to draw attention to Trump’s part in the government shut-down. The right focuses on the facts from NASA, which dismiss that the asteroid could cause any real damage. NASA said they can predict the asteroid’s orbit very accurately and there is a 0.0% chance statistically that there will be any collision with Earth, or even damage to an Earthen satellite.

The left is playing up the asteroid, using charged statements like “Fast and dangerous?”, “hurtling towards Earth at 67,000mph”, and “bigger than the world’s tallest building”. CNN said that if the asteroid went unmonitored and damaged Earth, then the government shutdown would be at fault, adding a political element to the simple astronomy story. They cite alternate facts, such as the asteroid being labeled “potentially hazardous” by NASA, and the rock’s mass speed and size.


So are we dead or alive? 
The left and right might both need a little space  to work out their differences. Asteroid 2002 AJ129 will be veering close to Earth, and it is the largest asteroid of 2018. These two facts may seem intimidating at first glance, but NASA has made it clear that there is absolutely no danger of damage or collision with Earth. So, why would the left make such a big deal about it? Most likely, to make a political statement about the government shutdown. WATCH the CNN report and let us know what you think.

 

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