(WASHINGTON) — Fear not fellow Earth dwellers: The White House says the asteroid passing by Earth on Friday does not pose a threat to our existence.
“Scientists have concluded that the asteroid poses no threat to planet Earth,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said when asked about the asteroid at the White House press briefing Friday.
“I never really thought I’d be standing up here saying that but I guess I am,” he said to laughter.
Earnest said that since there was no danger posed by the asteroid, the president was likely not briefed on its passing.
Asteroid 1998 QE2, which has its own moon, is set to pass by Earth at a distance of 3.6 million miles, its closest approach yet.
On Friday afternoon, the White House held a “We the Geeks” hangout about the asteroid, which featured scientists including Bill Nye, former host of TV show Bill Nye the Science Guy. Though Earth is safe, the scientists said the size and intensity of the asteroid would destroy our planet and our civilization if it did hit.
“If it landed on Earth, it would be the end of human civilization,” Ed Lu, a former astronaut and CEO of the B612 Foundation, said.
“If it landed in your city, you wouldn’t know it,” Nye, who is now the executive director of the Planetary Society, said, implying that you would be dead.
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Catherine E. Shoichet and Steve Almasy, CNN
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