Daily Debunker: What to Make of Those ‘Doomsday Asteroid’ Warnings

Featured on Snopes today: "Doomsday asteroid" headlines miss the truth by 3.9 million miles, Biden's latest gaffe vastly overstates U.S. gun deaths, and more.

Published Mar 5, 2020

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The last thing you want to hear if you’re already worried about the likelihood of a coronavirus pandemic is that a large asteroid is currently hurtling toward Earth that “could end civilization if it hits.”

That’s precisely how some clickbait headlines have described a massive space rock called Asteroid 52768 (1998 OR2), which NASA says will indeed approach Earth next month at a speed of 20,000 mph.

It’s but one of many near-Earth objects that scientists carefully track, Snopes writer Dan Evon reports. The trouble with media warnings saying it could destroy civilization “if it hits” is that it won’t. Those same scientists tell us Asteroid 52768 won’t come within 3.9 million miles of Earth.

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