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The asteroid will hit Earth in the end, we still have no defense: Elon Musk



SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweets that "a big rock will hit Earth in the end and we have no protection at the moment"

San Francisco:

A huge asteroid will eventually hit humanity and there will be no escape, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has predicted.

A monster asteroid called Apophis – called the Egyptian "God of Chaos" – will approach dangerously close to Earth, about 19,000 miles (31,000 km) above the surface.

"Awesome name! You won't worry about this particular one, but a big rock will hit Earth in the end and we don't have a defense at the moment," Musk tweeted at the end of Monday.

On April 13, 2029, a spot of light will spread across the sky, will become brighter and quickly.

At one point, it will travel more than the width of the full moon in one minute and it will become as bright as stars.

But this will not be a satellite or an airplane – it will be an 1100 – asteroid, near Earth called "Apophis", which will potentially be able to move harmlessly from Earth.

"The Apophis approach in 2029 will be an incredible opportunity for science," says Marina Brozovic, a scientist at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who works on radar observations of near-Earth objects (NEO).

"We will be observing the asteroid with both optical and radar telescopes. With radar observations, we can see surface details that are only a few meters in size," she added.

It is rare for an asteroid of this size to travel past Earth so close.

Although scientists have observed small asteroids, of the order of 5-10 meters, flying from Earth at a similar distance, asteroids of Apophis size are much smaller in number and therefore do not travel as close to Earth as they often do.

The asteroid, resembling a moving star as a point of light, will first become visible to the naked eye in the night sky above the Southern Hemisphere, flying above Earth from the east coast to the west coast of Australia.

It will then cross the Indian Ocean and by the afternoon in the eastern United States it will cross the equator, still moving west, over Africa.

"Ongoing calculations show that Apophis still has little chance of impact. Earth is less than 1 in 100,000 many decades from now, but future measurements of its position can be expected to rule out any possible impacts," NASA said recently.

Apophis is representative of about 2000 currently known potentially dangerous asteroids (PHAs).

"So there may be some superficial changes, such as small avalanches," says David Farnokia, an astronomer at JPL, in a blog post. [ExceptforthetitlethisstoryhasnotbeeneditedbyNDTVemployeesandissyndicated)

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