I don’t know if anybody has been following the journey of the small asteroid called 2013 TX68…but I have. With the Superbowl finally being over we will, as a matter of course, have to endure weeks of post-game analysis, and half-time show analysis, and commercial’s aired analysis, and players antics after the game analysis, and players psychoanalysis analysis, and so forth and so on until we’re all saturated and it’s finally not interesting anymore. Then the news networks will graciously stop doing it and we can move on to other topics of interest.
Such as a rock roughly the size of a basketball court out there in the cold, lonely void of space hurling happily along at ultra-supersonic speeds on a trajectory that will bring it uncomfortably close to Earth. The rocketgeeks and astrogoobers at NASA aren’t really sure how close it will get, but somewhere between 11 thousand miles and 9 million miles. Now that’s a big gap of uncertainty for folks that can mathematically pinpoint sending probes to Mars, and the other planets , which is like shooting a bullet at a shooting bullet a million miles away and hitting it dead center. But they can’t be any more accurate with the distance of the 2013 TX68 pass by of Earth?
There is a reason, and it’s terrifying to us Earthlings. The first time it passed through in October, 2013, they did not know it was coming and did not get to track it’s trajectory accurately. Let me reemphasize that little part again: they did not know it was coming. Then after barreling past us, 2013 TX68 was captured by the Sun’s gravity and is now in an orbit about the Sun. It will soon pass Earth again on March 5, 2016 and yet again on September 28, 2017. There will also be flyby’s in 2046 and 2097. Now, each time our little friend completes it’s orbit, it varies slightly causing the distance it passes Earth to be a little greater or a little lesser. NASA say’s they are confident it will not strike the Earth on any of these orbits. The odds are like getting killed by a falling coconut on your head, but that does happen to someone occasionally. But OK, I can live with those odds although we do get hit more frequently that we would like to acknowledge.
Now, if you look at our Moon you will see asteroid and meteorite impact craters all over it. Because the Moon has no wind nor rain nor climate of any sort, the craters do not erode away. Now Earth has the same impact craters all over it, thereby showing we are not immune from being hit, except they have been eroded over time and are harder to detect. My point being, that the Earth has been struck in the past and will be struck again in the future. 2013 TX68 is a smaller asteroid and would not be a planet killer like the rock that theoretically hit the earth 65 million years ago, causing the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. But even the smaller guys can be extremely destructive. Scientists do not say IF we’re hit again, they say WHEN we’re hit again as they know it’s inevitable. And if they don’t know when and where it’s coming at us, then we will have no time to prepare for it. That’s a little something that I think I should like to know personally. I’m not totally confident our governmental leaders would tell everybody an impact was coming to avoid chaos reigning for the time we would have left.
There are too few resources allocated to looking for these celestial bodies transiting through space like drunken hobos. We can spend billions and billions of dollars on an aircraft carrier or a submarine, but we can’t fund a serious effort to find Earth shattering objects that will hit us one day? The United States has 16 Aircraft Carriers, more that the rest of the world combined, so why can’t we put one in mothballs and take that money and devote it to locating and identifying our planet’s murderer; and some mechanism to stop a collision with the world before it get’s
One day you may look up and see two Suns in the sky…but not for long.