The Problem of Asteroids By Brian Simpson

     Some of us are looking each night to the starry skies above for answers, but as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the heavens are, humanity is but a speck of dust in a vast cosmic shooting gallery, that does not care about human intellectual machinations, deconstructions and social relativity:

“The current year has seen at least three asteroids moving dangerously close to the earth, namely, 2019 nn3, 2019 mb4 and 2019 mt2. another asteroid, ‘2019 nj2’, is likely to join this list on Friday. the asteroid 2019 nj2 is estimated to have an approximate diameter of 63 metres, and it is traveling at a speed of 48,280 km/h. the centre of near-earth object studies (cneos) forecasts that nj2 is likely to reach closest to the earth’s surface by Friday evening around 3:53 pm edt, or just before 1.30 am this Saturday morning. the asteroid will be around 3.1 million miles from our planet during this period. nj2 was first observed on June 29 this year. earlier, it was nearest to the earth in 1952 when it was flying close to venus.

Cneos also predicts that nj2 will return close to our planet the next time around July 7, 2119. however, it is likely to be at a significantly longer distance in 100 years. some other asteroids that have moved past the earth include 2006 qv89, 2016 no56m and rf12 as well. the earth’s gravity pulls asteroids very close to our planet but we have been lucky enough to have survived the wrath of mass destruction. A large meteorite exploded over the Bering sea on December 18 last year. as per NASA, the explosion released 173 kilotons of energy, which is 10 times more than the Hiroshima atomic bomb blast. however, this explosion went unnoticed as it happened in a remote area.”

     Wow, there were so many errors in that cut ‘n’ paste that I just gave up. They must be suffering from space radiation poisoning or something, which acutely affects grammar.

     What is interesting is that these “smaller” meteorites are not detected until they are ready to hit, and then it is too late to do anything about them, even if humans could. And, 10 times the explosive power of the Hiroshima bomb is nothing to sneeze at. Just imagine the tragedy if one of these rocks decided in its wisdom to land on say Wall Street, or Hollywood, or wherever the Lords of the Universe hang out. No doubt they would be able to teleport themselves away from the impact, using their super-powers, just in the nick of time, but it must be a worry. How embarrassing to be a Lord of the Universe, only to get squashed flat by some stupid rock going faster than the speed of sound.



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Friday, 19 August 2022