Apophis is a 390-metre celestial body once predicted as having a pretty good chance of kissing our beloved Earth on the cheek in 2036.
Like we didn’t have enough to worry about, what with the recession, the swine flu and Tim Hortons raising the price of coffee by five whole cents.
For awhile odds were as great as one in 45,000 of it splashing into the Atlantic causing a “cosmic Katrina.” Today NASA computes the risk as pretty much nil. Phew is all I can say, but since that would make for a pretty short column I will also say some other stuff. For starters, I don’t want to know about asteroids, meteorites, debris or anything else from outer space that might be heading our way.
I am still feeling the burn from the whole 2003 QQ47 fiasco. Described as a fast moving rock measuring 1.2 km across, 2003 QQ47 was initially scheduled to hit Earth on March 21, 2014. Just as I was getting ready to sell all our worldly possessions the scientists studied the situation some more and decided there was only a one in 909,000 chance of a collision. More furious calculating revealed there was actually a one-in-2.2 million chance of an impact occurring sometime in the next century. They went from a pinpoint prediction of March 21, 2014 to a one-in-2.2 million chance sometime in the next 100 years.
I hate that kind of loosey goosey knowledge. Why do they even give us this information? What sort of sadistic scientist would want us to know about stuff we probably can do nothing about?
You have to wonder about these scientists. I saw one on TV that had devoted over 30 years of his life to tracking meteors. Now there’s an optimistic I might add — that one day we could be waiting for a bus or standing in line at Tim Hortons grumbling about the price of coffee or worrying about there being any clean clothes in the closet for tomorrow, when, KAHBAM!
The last thing we’ll see is a blinding white light.
At least it would be fast. And if certain scientists would shut up already, it would also be a surprise. I say ignorance is bliss.
I’m all for going the way of the ostrich; bent over with my head firmly buried in the sand and my big old fanny waving an unwitting goodbye to the world.
I think that would be a pretty good way to go. Maybe not with my head actually in the sand, but maybe out in my garden smelling roses when suddenly I catch something out of the corner of my eye moving across the sky.
I would only have time to say, “Hey! What’s tha…?” And it would all be over.
There are a lot worse ways to depart. Of course with my luck, I wouldn’t be out in my garden sniffing roses at all. I’d probably be cleaning up doggy doo or scrubbing the toilet. Or worst of all, ironing.
Please God don’t let me check out while I’m ironing.
Personally, I like the ET theory. The one I found on the Internet that talked about how the last meteor that came close to smacking Earth was pushed aside at the last minute by an alien space ship. Aliens, as the website earnestly explains, have made a pact not to interfere with human life on Earth, but would not go so far as to stand idly by when they could prevent us from being wiped out altogether. We probably amuse them and they would miss having something to point and laugh at.
How this person knows so much about what aliens are allowed or not allowed to do isn’t explained. Maybe the guy found a Handbook of Alien Ethics lying in a crop circle somewhere. As an ostrich I’m just happy believing there is something out there with nothing better to do than playing bumper cars with anything that heads our way. It works for me.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going outside to enjoy my garden before the killing frost wipes it out.
Or a meteor — whichever comes first.
Shannon McKinnon is a humour columnist from the Peace River country. You can reach her by email at email@example.com