Pretty dramatic headline, eh? It’s true.
Today is International Asteroid Day, now in its second year, set aside to draw attention to rocks hurtling through space and particularly those that might hit our green and blue planet. The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a new show at the Burke Baker Planetarium called “Edge of Darkness,” which will give you the most intimate look at an asteroid you ever want to personally encounter, and will entertain you with information about where they (and comets) are, the likelihood of a strike on Earth, and just about everything you could ever want to know about space rocks.
“Eventually we will be hit by another asteroid,” cautions Dr. Carolyn Sumners, VP of Astronomy and Physical Sciences at HMNS. She explains that it was an asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, detailing how some species were able to adapt and survive the climate changes the asteroid caused, and some, large, lumbering dinosaurs especially, were not. “The danger of an asteroid impact for us today is that we’re not so very adaptable either. Something very disastrous that hits the earth that wipes out our infrastructure as we know it could kick us back to the dark ages in a hurry,” she tells KTRH News.
The earth has been hit by an untold number of asteroids, Dr. Sumners explains, and will be again. “We’re sitting in a shooting gallery. Three billion years ago it was an enormous shooting gallery. It’s calmed down quite a bit,” she says. To get an idea of the scope of the threat, look up. “If you look at the craters on the moon, there are some big ones, but they are very, very old.” But it’s not like all this space stuff is ancient history: a meteorite struck Russia in 2013. Here’s a video.
It’s a game of odds, and odds are another rock is going to hit our rock. As to whether that can be prevented, and how, and when, you’ll have to check out “Edge of Darkness” at the HMNS Planetarium.