Is it possible to protect the Earth from meteors? There has been a lot of talk lately about the possibility of sending space craft into outer space with the expressed purpose of finding and destroying possible impact meteors, but can it really be done?
About 65 million years ago – give or take a few years – the dinosaurs could only look on as a streak of light hurdled closer on its destructive mission. Are we any different? Do we honestly have such an elevated view of our abilities that we think we can knock any object out of the sky that is hell bent on our destruction? Thousands of cosmic collisions occur everyday, and yet we think we can predict each and every one.
Let’s for a minute examine the process: first you need to identify any possible impact objects, in itself a rather large task. Next, you have to get up there and somehow divert the meteor with a large force. Now, I really love movies like Deep Impact, but the sensationalism of blowing crap up is a little harder to sell outside of the movie theater.
We do not have to go back very far in our history to see evidence that meteors fall to Earth all the time. In 1992 one hit a car in New York. In 1908, one struck Siberia with devastating results. For those of you who have not been there, a visit to the meteor crater in Arizona is in order (the strike occurred around 50,000 years ago). I remember seeing it when I was 13 and thinking: Wow, that rock there did this?
This isn’t to make light of the meteor Apophis which may hit us in 2036; it could be catastrophic. Just make sure you are living today – really living. Take the time to enjoy your home while you are here, because who knows how long this planet will be here.