Yesterday I discussed our almost incomprehensible and insignificant place in the universe. Today, the dangers. Although a lonely place, spanning unfathomable distances, our solitude provides little safety on the third rock from the sun. Recent events in Chelyabinsk, Russia, were an unwelcome reminder of our homes vulnerability in the universal tapestry.
The human species has an uncanny way of skipping along its path almost obliviously meandering through social, work and family affairs. While we are busy arranging a get together, that important meeting or watching the television we forget that we dancing round our nearest star, the sun, at around sixty six and a half thousand miles an hour and that a few doors down between neighbours Mars and Jupiter looms the asteroid belt. Objects from this chain of space junk, often collide and change path moving off in any number of directions. We also forget that more space junk like comets and more asteroids from deeper space are doing their own little mindless dance on their own paths. I’d hazard a guess the thought has rarely crossed your mind. And particularly the risks they pose to us.
Have you ever driven your car under a bridge that holds a train above you or a series of motor vehicles buzzing away in other directions and as you pass under it thought ‘if we were on the same level I would have just missed that e.g.. car or worse, collided with it?’. Consider that your microcosmic model for the the universal big picture.
Asteroids can range in size from tiny grains of space dust to ‘global killers’ spanning tens of miles. Needless to say a collision with the latter would be extremely damming for the blue planet. Don’t get me wrong, many smaller asteroids burn-up as they enter our atmosphere and do us no harm, but others as in the case of the Russian incident get through and cause death and destruction. The threat is a real one. What could happen if something big enough hit I’ll discuss tomorrow, but I promise, It’s not a good news folks.