Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, tweeted that a "big rock" would hit Earth and that "we have no protection at the moment."
But NASA does not seem to agree.
Musk's tweet was a response to another comedian and podcaster, Joe Rogan, who shared an article reporting that NASA has begun preparation for a 1
Great name! You won't worry about this particular one, but eventually a large rock will hit Earth and we have no protection at the moment. https://t.co/XhY8uoNNax records19459005: 11 – Ilon Musk (@elonmusk) August 18, 2019
Musk made no mistake when he tweeted "I won't worry about that particular one." We will miss Apophis 19,000 miles away. It is rarely the case that such a large object is so close together that NASA scientists will seize the opportunity to observe surface details and other things that can help with planetary defense.
This is the next part of Musk's tweet that left people scratching their heads.
Musk has not specified what he means by "large rock", so it is difficult to know what he really refers to.
The NASA website, however, clearly states, "No known asteroid poses a significant risk of impact on Earth over the next 100 years."
Lindley Johnson of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office of NASA reiterated this position in a statement.
"While no known asteroid larger than 140 meters in size has a significant chance of striking. Earth for the next 100 years, NASA and its partners are exploring several different methodologies for deflecting a dangerous asteroid, "he said.
In principle, even if an asteroid has hit the Earth, scientists believe they will have the technology to keep it out of the way and prevent a collision.
NASA also has a designated department that finds undetected asteroids and tracks their orbits, so they have data on exactly where the asteroid will be up to hundreds of years in the future. Even if an undiscovered asteroid slips, Johnson said in a previous CNN interview that this effect is extremely rare – it only occurs once every two or three centuries.