Asteroid 2011 MD to Just Miss Us

I hate to disappoint you but the world will not be coming to an end today. The chunk of rock known as 2011 MD is going to miss us, by 12,000 km. To put that in perspective the moon is between 362,000 km to 405,000 km away. So it really is coming very, very, very, close to hitting us. I know, I know, you were probably sweating bullets about it. 😛

Even if the rock did hit us it’s not big enough to do much, if any damage. It’s estimated to be between 30 and 150 feet in diameter. So most of it would probably likely burn up in our atmosphere. So there’s nothing to worry about except the fact that we only discovered it five days ago on the 22nd of June.

So what happens if we discover a planet killer only five days before impact? Five days isn’t enough time to do anything about it. To be able to push a rock away we’d need months or maybe years to alter its course enough to keep it from impacting us. I know, a big rock would probably be easier to spot but the fact that there may be BIG chunks of rock, metal, or ice out there waiting to smack us that we don’t know about bothers me.

This reminds me of the epic quote from Kay from Men in Black

There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they DO NOT KNOW ABOUT IT!

So maybe it’s a good thing that we haven’t found a big rock on a collision course for us in 2063. Or have we but the government is covering it up? 😛

If you’d like to read a novel about an earth changing comet impact take a look at Lucifer’s Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled lives.

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