Dangers From Space
Could Space Spell our DOOM?
It is believed that the dinosaurs were wiped out by an impact event on the Earth's surface some 65 million years ago. Something from space be it an asteroid or a comet impacted off the Yucatan Peninsula creating a crater several hundred miles in diameter that now rests on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting firestorm caused a massive planetary winter which starved out the survivors of the impact. We know this today because of an iridium layer which lies in the same crustal zone just above the layers where the fossil record is shown. Scientists today believe that a Gamma Ray Burst could have caused the extinction of an earlier pre-dinosaur life cycle on Earth. Space is by no means a silent player when it comes to survival on our world. So we know that there are many dangers in space. Here we will explore those dangers and what they could mean for life as we know it.
What Dangers Lurk In Space?
- Asteroid Impact - We've all seen movies like Deep Impact and Armageddon. Many of these large rocks in space left over from the formation of the solar system orbit in our area of the solar system. They are identified as NEOs or Near Earth Objects. NASA has operations in place to identify and catalog all the NEOs in our solar system. But they cannot find them all since there are literally millions of them out there. The ones they are concerned about are large in size and some of them they do not see until hours before they pass. A large Asteroid Impact would be catastrophic and could cause the extinction of all life on Earth.
- A Cometary Impact - Comets like Asteroids are rogue wanderers of the solar system. Comets come in three types called short, medium, and long term comets. Short term comets orbit within the orbital dimensions of the planets and have regular intervals in which they come into the inner solar system. Medium term comets move out past the orbit of Pluto but are still within the planetary disc. Long term comets and the most dangerous of the three come from a place half way between our solar system and the nearest star called the ort cloud. These vagabonds of space come rushing into the solar system and are only seen when their tail begins to shine as they reach about the orbit of Mars. This gives us only a short time to determine their course and if one just happened to be aimed at us we'd have little to no time to do anything about it.
- Solar Storms - Solar storms pose a threat to us in the way of our technology. A large enough solar storm would knock out our modern infrastructure and throw us back into a pre-industrial world. The resulting panic and chaos would devastate humanity.
- Gamma Ray Bursts - Gamma Ray Bursts happen when a large star goes supernova. The resulting blast creates a shock-wave of gamma rays. If one of these explosions happened in our galaxy it would sterilize our world. The burst would strip our planet of it's protective ozone layer and we would all die from the resulting x-rays as we were all literally cooked alive.
- Supernovas - If a nearby large star exploded near our solar system the resulting blast would strip the surface of our world down to an area of several miles into the Earth's crust. There would be no life left on Earth and our area of the galaxy would be scorched.
- Rogue Blackholes - A blackhole is the result of a dead mega-star. These gravitational dynamos once thought to be stationary have been seen moving about the galaxy at high speeds one was even observed being ejected from the galaxy. If one of these black holes entered our solar system we'd begin to notice its effects right away. Soon enough as the black hole entered the inner solar system we would be sucked into the event horizon and torn apart while our bodies would be stripped down the very molecules of which we are created.
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