Saturday, 10 March 2018

Asteroid!


I thought I would have a chat about the end of the world. I’ve done a little research and there are countless ways in which the Earth could be destroyed or suffer such a terrible calamity that there entire human race is wiped out.

I’ve narrowed the list down to ten possibilities – five realistic and five more ridiculous. Over the next few posts I shall attempt to discuss them in my own peculiar way, starting with the realistic ones and heading into weird territory after that.

First up: asteroid collision.

You may have seen the movies Armageddon and Deep Impact which basically have this subject covered. In both films, the Earth is threatened by a huge asteroid and the world combines forces to try to avert catastrophe.

While I enjoyed both films, ultimately they were the kind of film where you have to switch off your brain and enjoy the carnage – otherwise you end up laughing throughout the movie saying things like:

“WHAT? A bunch of oil riggers are going to drill a hole and blow up this asteroid with a nuclear bomb?”

The truth is I am sure that America has a plan to destroy any huge rocks they discover heading towards the Earth; they always manage to save the world across the pond.

But surely their success depends on the size of the approaching asteroid. For example I’ve read about something called a rogue planet and, worse, a rogue star and no bomb will be big enough to destroy either of those, I can tell you.

Basically a rogue planet is something at least the size of our moon that drifts through the galaxy uninfluenced by any star. If such a thing hurtled into our solar system all we could do is hope that one of the outer planets decided to add it to their collection of moons.

We certainly couldn’t destroy it – and even if we could, there would be thousands of smaller pieces all heading towards us each with the power to wipe us out with the same ferocity as the relatively small one that wiped out the dinosaurs all those years ago.

The truth is that I think such a thing is unlikely to happen in our lifetime.

However, if it did, and the asteroid wasn’t a giant planet sized monster, we could try asking it nicely via the medium of a huge explosion whether it would consider joining our little family (the Earth and the Moon); we could guide it into an orbit that would give us something even better to look at during the night time. The downside to this is that, of course with an extra moon, lots of things would happen on Earth.

For example, we would suffer earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes would start to erupt in a cataclysm that would also do some serious damage to humanity across the globe. The new moon itself might also go as far as to cause a mass extinction itself.

If we were to be wiped us out, perhaps the creatures that evolved in a million or so years’ time would look back at our fossilised bones and make a movie called “Quatenaric Park” about humans resurrected from the blood in the stomach of mosquitos from our time, terrorising whoever is in charge of the Earth at the time.

That all sounds a bit silly to be honest doesn’t it?

But the question is, does it sound sillier than plans to build a spaceship and send a bunch of brave volunteers on a one way trip to an Earth-like planet in the Goldilocks Zone of a distant sun? I guess ultimately we will end up doing this anyway – unless we are visited by aliens who help us to sort something out with their local neighbourhoods.

But that is something for another post.

Basically, my opinion is that if a fairly chunky piece of space rock is on collision course with Earth then we are fucked, even if a brave bunch of oil drillers volunteer to blow themselves and the asteroid up with a nuclear bomb.

8 comments:

River said...

If I knew an asteroid was on its way, I'd sit down and start watching my favourite movies and TV shows until it hits, then I know I'd die happy at least.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I don't think it would be instantaneous - unless of course it hit where you live.

:o)

Cheers

PM

River said...

I hadn't thought of that. Well, more time to watch more movies. Unless there's a world wide blackout. Then I'll have to read until the torch batteries die.

JahTeh said...

It wasn't so long ago that an asteroid passed very close to earth and no-one noticed until it was right on us. Fortunately it kept going Bruce Willis is getting a little too old for space.

Big D said...

Personally I'd hope Jupiter deflect the wandering planetoid off course and take one for the team. Otherwise we're looking at Permian level extinction event.
What's worse Aerosmith might write another awful ballad about it.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I'll be doing that for sure.

:o)

Cheers

PM

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi JT,

Thank God for that - and I'm talking about Bruce Willis.

:o)

Cheers

PM

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Big D,

Aerosmith apparently didn't write it. It's a real turkey in an otherwise good catalogue.

I'd prefer something a bit more upbeat - like having a massive party so that I would be unconscious when the thing struck!

:o)

Cheers

PM