I have always been fascinated with astronomy. Just to look up into the night sky, in the country, where there are no lights is a sight to behold. It’s impossible to even imagine the number of stars and to think about their distance from earth is mind-boggling. It’s been years since the light we now see from a star even reaches our eye. We are talking about millions and millions of light years away. Light travels at 186,000 miles a second and that means many of those stars are a very long way from us. These are all elementary school subjects but astronomy is far from elementary school stuff. Astronomy also poses some tough questions for theologians. To think we are the only ones out there in this vast universe is a complex problem. We are pretty arrogant or stupid to think we are alone.
Why am I reviewing all of this? The above photo is one that scares me. Astronomy is a pretty scary subject. The photo shows an asteroid impacting Jupiter. If that happened to us on earth it could be like a multi-megaton bomb hitting the planet and could make an atomic explosion seem like a pop-gun. The problem is that the universe we live in is like a shooting gallery with earth as the target. It’s estimated that there over 6,000 asteroids out there that could potentially collide with us.
Many science fiction movies and stories may not be all that far-fetched. A giant rock could be heading our way. The good thing is that it might settle all our disputes. The Taliban, Iran, and Korea would all suddenly be of no great importance to us. Even the economic problems and healthcare reform would no longer be issues.
We are celebrating our 40th anniversary of the moon landing. Many people have complained about the cost of the project and even suggested that NASA be abolished. All of this may be a lifesaver. If we hope to save ourselves from an asteroid bullet it will be through the efforts of our space program. The most likely defense will be to send a rocket to intercept and destroy the big rock with an atomic explosion. Another defense is to send a satellite that will attach to the asteroid and change its course.
My porch is under a canopy of oak trees that block my view of the night sky. At least I won’t see the asteroid as it makes its way through the heavens to wipe us off the planet.