[singlepic id=7 w=320 h=240 float=left]Yes, it’s official! This might be the end of the world (of Warcraft), as we know it. It’s been a ghost and a fear that has chased humanity and mother earth for all eternity. As you all know, we are but a small planet in the galaxy known as the Milky way. This is just our little corner in space, which is infinitely large and ever expanding. In the grand scheme of things, our planet is nothing but an extremely small dot in space. But in space, there are many things moving about. There are other planets, stars, moons and miscellaneous other items including what we should fear, asteroids. These lose cannons drift around in space, seemingly without cause nor purpose. But as chance has it, they do from time to time bump into other objects in space. And when this happens, it might have tremendous impact on the object it hits. As some of you may now think, NASA has calculated that one of these asteroids might hit a large server park near you, meaning that you won’t be able to play World of Warcraft, and thus making it the end of the World of Warcraft, but fear not. Even though you might be sitting at home playing World of Warcraft, and ending up like the poor chums in South Park, you should not fear this. As this is minor to what might happen.
It has been well known for some time now that both asteroids and meteors has hit earth before, and according to popular science caused the extinction of the dinosaurs and 90% of all life on earth roughly 65 million years ago. Asteroids and meteors are constantly in the near vicinity of earth, but most of them are far enough away that they never hit. And those that eventually get near enough, are usually so small that they burn up during their decent through the earth’s atmosphere that they just disintegrate. There are proof that we’ve been hit by large asteroids before. Under the Arctic ice there has been found traces of a major asteroid hit, and in modern history you have the Tunguska event where a meteorite detonated with brute force about five to ten kilometers above ground resulting in severe damages to the earth directly beneath it.
Scientist has now confirmed that there is an asteroid heading our way, called Apophis (or 99942 Apophis to be exact). This asteroid is roughly 250 meters in diameter, and would if it hits earth cause severe damage. It is not big enough to be defined as a planet killer, but would cause catastrophic regional damages. Chances are obviously high that it will hit the ocean, seeing as the earth is 70% covered by water. In that event it would cause a major tsunami which would effect the coastline thousand of kilometers away from point of impact. If it is to hit solid earth, the crater is believed to be as big as 2500 meters deep and 8 kilometers wide. An explosion with the force of 880,000,000 tons of TNT, or the equivalent of 60,000 Hiroshima bombs. In other words, more than the fire cracker that exploded in your hand when you were little, or was that only me?
So when is this asteroid due for earth? Well, this should come as no surprise to most, but it is calculated to approach earth for the first time on Friday the 13th 2029. If it comes close enough, the earth’s gravitation will be strong enough to bend its existing course enough that it will hit earth on its next run past us, which is approximately seven years later. So what can we do to avoid this believed disaster? We’ve all seen the major blockbuster movies where a skilled team of professionals are sent into out space to save the day with atom bombs and what not, showing of extreme courage or idiocy depending on your view point. This time around though, we’re based in the real world where things might not be as glamorous as sending Bruce Willis out into outer space to rescue us. Though, we will have to send out a vessel of some sort to help remedy the situation. It is believed that if we build a space vessel big enough in terms of mass, the mass of that vessel will be enough to cause a big enough gravitational pull to help the asteroid on a new course. No fancy lasers, no atom bombs, no Bruce Willis! It’s simply physics in play. Only time will tell if you we will succeed on this mission, but time is short. Financing such a project and making it a reality isn’t done by itself, and needs international cooperation. We still don’t know if it will hit us, and if it does, where it will hit. But it is the responsibility of the entire human race to help one another on this project. And even if it doesn’t hit us, the lessons we learn from doing this will be something that we can use for the future. There are far more asteroids out there lurking, and who knows if we will ever be put in the same position again. It’s better to be prepared for what might happen, than not to be prepared at all.
We only have one earth, let’s make sure we keep the one we have for as long as possible.