Some months ago we were informed – through the usual channels – that an asteroid was likely to hit the earth. It was a large one as asteroids go, and as we know, asteroids go very far very fast indeed.
If the earth gets hit by an asteroid, said scientist Bill Nye, it is control-alt-delete for civilization. And to be honest, it is difficult to see control-escape for any of us.
I remember thinking when reading that bit of cheery news that I had wasted my education. Why bother about gathering degrees and doctorates when soon after you have finished all that hard work you are likely to be knocked off the face of the earth by a passing asteroid?
None of us did a course on what to do in case of an asteroid attack – possibly because there is nothing to do but wait for oblivion like those dinosaurs millions of years ago. At least those creatures didn’t waste their time going to college. When the time came, and contact was made, they simply disappeared, to reappear only as models in museums.
Also, they had no television or Internet to cause them to worry about the asteroid strike months before it happened.
Our universities tell us nothing about avoiding asteroids. That crucial part of our education is left to Hollywood. It is the movies that point out how to deal with the situation. Get into a rocket and fly off till the earth is habitable again, one has suggested. Another has explained how an asteroid can be thrown off its path through some kind of nucleary blasty thingy so it goes away into the sun where it is easily swallowed. The sun is so large it won’t even burp after that meal.
Deflecting the asteroid seems a good idea, especially since no one can sue us. On the other hand, if we fail in our mission to deflect the asteroid, we could become the laughing stock of aliens everywhere.
The asteroid warning I spoke about came a few months ago. Asteroids destroy everything, but they are also predictable (not that it helps). It was meant to strike earth some time now. I have a few questions: Is it safe to come out now? Did it go past us with a cosmic ‘whoosh’ and leave us shaken but safe? Did it hit us, destroy us and what we are living now is some kind of a posthumous existence? Is this what post-life life looks like?
Here’s a request to scientists: Next time, don’t tell us. If we can’t do anything about it, let us at least enjoy life till the Final Boom (a fitting end to something that began with the Big Bang).