In a year of global threats like coronavirus, the killer asteroid hurting toward Earth this Saturday is a dreadful reminder of space dangers.
In a recent poll, a majority of New Hampshire Democrats said they’d rather a meteor extinguish all human life on Earth than Donald Trump win reelection. Just 36% of Democrats held their nose and picked Trump over the end of humanity.
The other 64% said bring on the meteor!
Well, the Giant Meteor 2020 crowd could get their wish.
As if the worsening coronavirus pandemic isn’t terrifying enough, NASA says a giant, “potentially hazardous asteroid” will cross within 0.038 astronomical units of Earth.
The asteroid has a diameter of 3,250 feet. That’s bigger than the tallest building on Earth – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. It will cross Earth’s path this Saturday at 6:05 am EST.
The giant space object is simply named “163373 (2002 PZ39).” It’s what astronomers call an “Apollo” asteroid. These are asteroids with a path that crosses Earth’s orbit.
While coronavirus is deadly and apparently highly contagious, an Earth-destroying asteroid poses a more existential threat.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says that’s part of his drive to colonize other planets. He knows major impacts have upended all life on Earth in the past, and will again.
Musk tweeted last year that a big space rock would eventually hit Earth, and that we currently have no defense.
At least we’re prepared to fight coronavirus.
But NASA has been making plans to deflect a killer asteroid for years. A survey last year found Americans prioritize asteroid defense over another manned mission to the Moon.
In 2028, an asteroid as large as the one currently hurtling toward Earth will pass even closer. It will be a dreadful near-miss of just 154,000 miles. Hopefully, Saturday’s asteroid will pass by without any unforeseen factors disturbing its orbit.
Hug your sweetheart tight on Valentine’s Day.
It might be Armageddon Eve.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: February 13, 2020 7:31 PM UTC