Friday, March 06, 2009

Astronomical Near-miss

As Chief Vitalstatistix would say” the sky might have fallen on us while we lay sleeping”.

Well it nearly happened. It seems that earth was spared by a deadly cosmic catastrophe during the early hours of last Monday, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab. It was the one they called 2009 DD45, because we all know that NASA scientists are well known for coming up with the coolest names. Why can't the have a name like Jack, Sam or even Rathnapala? Ok, never mind. This asteroid was measured with a diameter between 69 – 154 feet, has zipped past us, a mere 48,800 miles away from Earth. This is about twice the distance to telecommunications satellites and about fifth the distance from the moon. Luckily it decided to skip us and go forth in looking for greener pastures. Very good news for us, but I'm sure an omnipotent asteroid throwing being somewhere in that vast universe is going, "Damn, missed again" right about now.

It makes you wonder what would have happened if it did hit us. Would we have just disappeared from the face of the earth like the dinosaurs? A sad end to a great species known as man? I wonder who’ll be the next intelligent species to rule Earth. Roaches perhaps? Yes, I can imagine many of your squirming at the thought. Whomever the next rulers of Earth may be, would they find our bones in their paleontological endeavors?

Or, would we have survived, to carry on life on a broken planet, sunlight blocked by volcanic ashes, no water and no food, and sweltering heat, and to suffer miserably.

Whatever may happen, we are just a speck, less than a speck actually, in an infinite universe our tiny little brains can’t even begin to comprehend, so it makes man's petty little squabbles with one another, pretty insignificant, don’t you think so?

I think the best analogy for this was seen in the movie “Men in Black I” where it ends with showing our galaxy is inside a marble in a big alien kid’s bag of marbles.

Well, don't worry your pretty little heads, because, according to the scientists, the next near miss won't happen till 2029. A 885-foot asteroid called 99942 Apophis, will come as close as 20,000 miles from us. If humans haven't destroyed the world by then, lets hope that this one will also decide to skip us.

If you want to know what else is lurking nearby, you can check out NASA's Near Earth Objects site.

Cheers y'all, have a good weekend


Makuluwo said...

I've always had the most morbid weirdass thoughts about the world ending with the collision of a ginormous asteroid!

And I doubt an asteroid of that magnitude would destroy the entire human race.. maybe fuck things up a bit, and who's left might have a chance to start things up all over again, maybe even do it right this time. ;D

pissu perera said...

well obviously the learned folks at the JPL have never watched armageddon! the president of the usa must hire bruce willis, ben affleck and co. to save the world. bruce willis will of course die, but we will live happily ever after.

also, surely you meant a great end to a sad species known as man? sounds more accurate no. least they go out with a bang (pun intended of course) :)