It Came From Outer Space!

There is much danger to Earthlings as we tiptoe through eternity.

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Ceres will never hit us, but others mightImpression of a large asteroid eventThe famed Berringer Crater in ArizonaThe Asteroid Belt
Ceres will never hit us, but others might
Ceres will never hit us, but others might
Impression of a large asteroid event
Impression of a large asteroid event
The famed Berringer Crater in Arizona
The famed Berringer Crater in Arizona
The Asteroid Belt
The Asteroid Belt

Asteroid impact. No defense possible

We were treated to a spectacular event in our skies over England and Ireland last night.

For once, it was a clear night suffused with the heavenly firmament, as it is poetically know, of stars and planets as the Milky Way and all the other players shone forth, as they do all the time but we rarely see them.

Arriving from the east and heading west came at first a “large” object and as it segued into our outer atmosphere, began to turn white hot and then break up into many smaller “meteors.” Watchers who knew a bit about the debris which bombards the planet constantly were divided as to whether they were watching the break-up of a meteor in the shape of a piece of rock, or some man-made space junk, such as a satellite.

There was speculation on the speed of the immigrant. “That’s going at the speed of military aircraft,” announced one observer.

Wiser heads knew no military craft could reach the speeds of the incoming: 18 miles above the surface of our world, astronomers told us today, the speed initially of the meteorites - if this is what they were - was around 18,000 miles per hour - and could have been much faster than that.

Space debris like this burns up by the hundreds of tons every year in Earth’s atmosphere. Without this thin yet vital cushion of air, we would be like ducks in a shooting gallery and might well have to live underground or undersea.

It is no mystery to most of us today that the high speed of the space rocks and the friction from the air molecules produces this blinding and destructive heat and destruction of the potential missiles before they can impact with the surface and cause death and destruction. The fact that most are small does not detract from the kinetic energy they store at this great speed and a piece the size of a bullet would impact with explosive force and could destroy a large area.

Many of these potential visitors are strays from the Asteroid Belt, that area between Mars and Jupiter where they are held in check by the gravity of their huge neighbors. We also have “Near Earth” asteroids and Trojans, etc, other areas of space where asteroids gather.

We have been watching and plotting the movements of asteroids for years as our history has shown several destructive impacts from much larger bodies over the millennia. These take roughly two forms: a direct impact with earth causing a life-threatening chain of events as material is thrown into the atmosphere, even changing the climate for many years and causing the loss of species.

Recently, another type of collision with the planet has been noted called “Air Burst” impact. These events are caused by significantly smaller asteroids which overheat and “explode” just above the surface of the planet. Space rocks no more than several meteors across can cause hundreds of miles of destruction to flora and fauna - and man if he’s somewhere underneath. We have clear evidence of one that struck Siberia about 100 years ago showing many square miles of downed trees from the blast wave.

There are asteroids up there much larger than this…a few many KILOMETERS across! One is so large, it is classified as a minor planet! If one of these monsters would collide with earth it would destroy most if not all life and might even structurally damage the planet and cause it to break up. It would be a spectacular event, but there would be no posterity to see the records.

The worry among astrophysicists and their ilk is that these monsters travel so darned fast there can be little warning of their arrival. And even if we could forecast their arrival a year ahead, what could we do? In the event that the incoming was not huge, maybe we could evacuate the area…maybe! Look what happened to New Orleans when the hurricane struck, evacuation proved about hopeless.

If on our journey through space, we stumbled into the orbit of giant asteroids Ceres, Pallas, or Vesta, all more than 500 kilometers across, or into the path of another 150, plus monsters, all more than 100 kilometers wide, well, time to bend down and kiss the patootie adios!

Not that it would need be one of these space giants; an asteroid a couple of miles wide would probably give all life as we know it the death blow - as one did the dinosaurs and those that caused the other three great extinctions of Planet Earth.

But what a sight it would be for doomed earthlings!! As the huge rock hit our atmosphere, it would begin to glow and then get white hot. Thousands of chunks would burn off the surface and join the charge towards the surface of Mother earth. We would only have seconds to live then as the speed of approach might exceed 50,000 miles per hour with just 18 miles to cover. As the remains impacted with the planet, an explosion of dimensions never before seen of imagined would occur. For perhaps a thousand miles in every direction, the destruction would be total, even mountains would be leveled. Then a huge cloud of ash and particulate matter would plunge us into a permanent night which could last for a hundred years. Nothing and no one could survive unless we had left for the moon or a nearby planet, should our technology be up to escaping like this…and this would only be for a few, and you know who they would be! Not you and I! Obama, Cameron, Richard Branson and the “royals” would watch the disaster from a safe distance, along with the crown jewels. Kate and Willy might have smug smiles watching the end of the paparazzi!…

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Comments 24 comments

bac2basics profile image

bac2basics 4 years ago from Spain

Hi Bob. I am now scared half to death, but comforting myself with the thought that my end will be quick and spectacular !! LOL.

During the last meteor shower I actually saw some shooting stars, first time in at least 8 years of looking out for them ( yes I realise they´re probably NOT known as shooting stars by those like yourself in the know!!) Anyway I saw some, about 5 in half an hour, and the last one before giving in and finally going to bed, was a beauty. It appeared for much longer than the others, and had a tail of fire and everything. It was worth getting a crick in the neck just to see this.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

A common description and quite correct. A shooting star or falling star is actually a tiny to largish meteor which burns up in our atmosphere. If some of it lands intact, that is a meteorite, composed of many minerals or rock. These usually occur ahen Earth passes through the tail end of a Comet or they can be a decomposing asteroid.

I think that is right, but I am no expert.

Bob


Silva Hayes profile image

Silva Hayes 4 years ago from Spicewood, Texas

To go out with a bang! What more could one ask for? Voted Up and interesting.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Yes Silva: A large asteroid could arrive so fast - it would compress and super-heat the air in front of it, killing any life-forms before it actually impacted Earth - that we would have no warning...gone in a puff of smoke.

Bob


Genna East profile image

Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Wow, Bob. This gave me chills, but also reminded me that we should celebrate and be thankful for life, each and every day. Excellent and thorough writing, as always, Bob.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Genna: Still very little chance of dying from a space object thank goodness. But the universe is a lottery and it will happen one day, who know when

Bob


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

In a few more years, we should be able to detect and deflect any asteroid large enough to cause a major disaster.

Cool Hub, Bob!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Will: Sounds good! Evidently, they say we are safe from major collisions for at least 100 years, but there's still plenty unmapped out there.

You're OK, you can go and run to the bottom of the Barringer Crater near you...lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place...does it!

Bob


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Hi, Bob!

We took a trip to Northern AZ a week or so ago, and ended up on 'Winter Road', just a couple of miles south of Utah. We stopped to check out a campsite and found a crater about a quarter mile across and equally deep. It looks for all the world like an impact crater from a small meteor strike. I'm going to find out what it is and left you know.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I hope this works! :

https://maps.google.com/?ll=36.93858,-112.07633&z=...

You'll see the crater...just zoom it in.


BobbiRant profile image

BobbiRant 4 years ago from New York

This is just too cool! Hey, bring on the asteroids, let em have Earth. Maybe it would be good for the environment. In any case, great hub and I enjoyed reading it very much. Voting it up!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Cheers Bobbi, your opinion means a lot to me...

Bob


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Were you able to see the crater, Bob? What I failed to notice was another, but far more shallow, depression right next to the deep one. We are going back there next month, so I'll have another look!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 4 years ago from North Texas

Have you seen the Meteor Crater in Arizona? It's 7 stories deep and several hundred feet across. The rock that made it is on display in a glass case inside the museum on the site. It's not big at all considering the huge hole it made. and it caused displaced rock and soil, etc., to be blown for miles. I saw the rock and I would say it's around 18 inches long, 12 inches wide, and another 14 or so inches deep. That's an approximation from 20 years ago. It's small compared to what you're describing here and you could probably Google it.

Voted up, interesting, and awesome as your hubs always are! Glad you're back!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Yes, Missy, I saw it years ago, just another hole in the ground. I didn't see the asteroid which made it, though. That might have been a remnant. There are a lot of larger ones, (impact craters), some so extensive, it's hard to believe they are only a crater...like the one in the Yucatan, for example.

Nice to BE back after a very frustrating escapade...

Bob x


Teresa Schultz profile image

Teresa Schultz 4 years ago from East London, in South Africa

You make the destruction of the world sound exciting. As I read, I caught myself realising that although I should feel afraid of it possibly happening, I also caught myself thinking "Wow, I'd like to see this destruction." Interesting and easy-to-read hub. Well done.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Very interesting...and so goes the big bang! Have missed seeing you around bob...hope all is well and you are back...this was a great hub to do it with. Voted up, useful, and interesting.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Nothing went well, but I am back. Thank you for your kind salutation on your Hubbers articles.

We seem poised on the edge of one disaster or another in 2012, either from space or man made with the Arab/Israeli conflict...I wish crazed people who sing songs like "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" would realize many of us are just on the doorstep of the combatants.

Congratulations on your hubscore..well deserved.

Bob


stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Enjoyed you're hub. Much details , and interesting. Maybe asteroids could have wiped out the dinosaurs. That's what some say. Thank you.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

I love stuff like this so interesting. Great hub. Voted uP!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico Author

Cheers, Moonlake...

Bob


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

Great hub...in spite of that last paragraph! But, hey, maybe 'they' wouldn't get away fast enough either! No fair, huh. Fun and a bit scary hub here...and totally valid observations.


diogenes 4 years ago

Hi Frogyfish...thanks for visit and kind comment...

Bob


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

I'd love to see the documentation from when asteroids destroyed or caused major changes on this planet previously. Without that it's just conjecture. Interesting to read about your experience though.

Don't worry, if the human powers that control this planet were the only ones saved it wouldn't be long and all human life would be extinct. What would they do without the rest of us to push the buttons on their telephones for them, and wipe their . . . well, you know. I think they could not survive without at least a few of us who actually know how to do things and who make their lives possible.

Interesting article and will share. Hope you're bright eyed and bushy tailed today . . .

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