If you’re reading this, Earth has not yet been destroyed
Look! Up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it the coming carbon tax calamity? No! It’s Asteroid 2005 YU55!
The 400m-wide rock (please let us know if you need this translated to Olympic swimming pool or football field units of measurement) will whiz by Earth today at a whopping 19km a second, a mere 324,600 km away. That’s closer than the friggin’ moon!
But don’t head for your swine-flu-resistant bunker, we’re going to be fine. Reassuringly, NASA says we’re not going to get smashed to bits by asteroids for 100 years. That means your bunker’s probably a good real estate investment, keep stockpiling that Spam!
Asteroids are very cool. Let us count the ways in which they are cool.
1. All those wispy-haired moonbats who believe that the movement of things in space affect their daily lives must be FREAKING OUT. Maybe when they realise that lumps of inert material far far away do not exert enough gravity to help them meet a dark-haired stranger they’ll realise the error of their Zodiac-loving ways. Or maybe not.
2. They now know some really nerdy details about what would happen if this specific asteroid actually hit Earth. Little old 2005 YU55 would create a 6.4km wide crater about 520 metres deep. It could cause 21-metre tsunami waves and shake the ground like a magnitude-7 earthquake. Woah.
3. Scientists know how to deflect an asteroid heading for Earth. According to this report, the B612 Foundation has worked out how to save us from the fate of the dinosaurs by smashing dem asteroids up, using a gravity tractor, or ‘Mirror bees’ and foil wrap. Hey if it’s got foil it’s gotta be true.
4. Scientists were also able to confirm that it does in fact look like a grey potato by pinging radio beams off it to create an image. See above.
5. Asteroids are not all the same. The European Space Agency last year discovered that the Lutetia asteroid was an ancient malformed baby planet, a “primitive ‘mini-world’ that used to be round and may even have tried to grow a metal heart like a fully formed planet”. Awwww.
6. NASA has a whole section called Spaceguard to keep an eye on objects lurking dangerously close to Earth. And here’s a list of the things they’ve learned (ooh, a list within a list) – including the fact we should probably thank them for bringing us into existence.
That officially makes asteroids cooler than God.
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