Friday, October 23, 2009

'The End of the World'...sooner, later, or never?

Planets of the solar systemImage via Wikipedia

Members of every generation have pointed toward a possible 'End of the World' scenerio based on some biblical, astronomical, or technological. phenomenom,  that would mark the end of time for all mankind....usually within their lifetime.

Fortunately, their skeptics have been correct up until now... however, many who took stock in some spiritual or religious apocalypse due around the year 2000.... blinked hard a few years back!

This was the time pointed to by 16th-century clairvoyant Nostradamus and several other ancient prophets,  as the reign of some demonic Anti-Christ who would destroy nearly all of civilization,  before finallly being overtaken by God.  No sign of any satanic beast yet.

There was also a fear that all computerized technology would crash and burn when it's time-coded memory systems erased....hurling the world into kaos  as the clock struck midnight on New Years Eve, 2000.(Otherwise known as 'Y to K')   Nine years later, 'we're still going'...strong!

Our latest nightmare to come is right around the corner....just 1155 days away.  On December 21st, 2012 at the beginning of winter solstice, the earth and our sun will align with the galactic equator, as happens every year at this time. 

However, in 2012  this galactic alignment will directly intersect our solar system's common plane of ecliptic orbit at the precise, center-core of the Milky Way galaxy...where exists a huge cluster of black, dust clouds.

The ancient Mayan Indians actually based their calender and timeline on the appearance of these cosmic clouds during their astrological observations. They called the clouds 'The Great Rift', and for told of its perfect, galactic, epicenter intersection with our sun in 2012.... which is predicted to either enlighten our planet.... or destroy it!

Other 2012 theories have sprung up lately, some plausable, and others far-fetched.  They've even made the movie '2012'.  All stories tell about the end of the world.  However,just how many versions are believable? Who cares? Who's scared?  Who's bored?

As for me, 2012 is believable, but not especially least not.yet!  It's certainly not boring. But what I really care about are the actual dangers we face every earthquakes, tsunami's, or that volcanic eruption at Yellowstone Park that could wipe out half the world if it erupts? (It's due any year now). How about global warming, pandemics, deadly virus's,  biological and chemical warefare.... and the frightening possibility of a nuclear haulocaust?.

If we DO manage to survive 2012, there's always the chance Earth could get hit by an asteroid. Actually, this might be the most possible scenerio of all.  IN FACT,  we already know WHERE, and WHEN we're going to get JUST-missed!!!  This is not a prediction or a guess. This is a scientific, astronomical, astrophysical, mathematical  FACT!

On Friday, April 13th, 2029 an asteroid named NM4  will pass the earth traveling at 23,000 miles per hour....and MISS the Earth's surface by 18,600 miles. That may seem far, but our geosynchronous satellites are even further out at 22,300 miles. There's a slim chance our satellites,  and the earthly conveniences they providel....could get in the  way!

The MN4 is 320 meters wide, and if it did hit land it would obliterate a state the size of Texas.  An ocean hit would create multiple tsunamis...and millions would die either way.  However, MN4 would not wipe out the world.  Why am I  even mentioning  this if it's going to miss us?  Because,  seven years later in 2035, MN4 will swing back by Earth....and some astronomers worry that our orbital plane may shake it off course.....and into us!

In 2004 when MN4 was first discovered, scientists gave it a 1 in 60 chance of hitting earth.  Those bad odds weren't nearly bad enough....and happily, better data has increased the odds over time.  Let's hope the data doesn't change for the worse over the next few years....or we discover another, bigger asteroid coming our way even sooner.

As for me, I'll stick to what I know, and that is; if I'm alive in 20 years,  I will actually walk outside on lucky Friday, April 13th, 2029 and gaze thankfully up at the night sky, watching this bright, point of light, four times larger than the biggest star....blaze across the heavens moving faster than any satellite. So long MN4!, I'll say.  I hope to see you pass safely by in does the rest of the world....if it's still around!

Thanks, and take care every day,


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