NASA Reports 2,034-Foot 'Potentially Hazardous Asteroid' Will Fly By Earth Before Thanksgiving

Tuesday, 12 November 2019 - 10:52AM
Solar System
Tuesday, 12 November 2019 - 10:52AM
NASA Reports 2,034-Foot 'Potentially Hazardous Asteroid' Will Fly By Earth Before Thanksgiving
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I never tire of thinking about how humanity will eventually go the way of the dinosaur. I find a strange kind of comfort in considering the fact that despite all of its collective vanity, aspirations towards immortality, and denial of death, humans, as a species, will eventually return to the dust whence they came. It puts life's petty hassles, indignities, and agonies into a perspective that transcends "this too shall pass" and other platitudes. Once extinct, there will be no history. There will eventually be no trace of us. If we are alone in the universe – though we should remember that no evidence of extraterrestrial life does not mean there is evidence of no extraterrestrial life – our planet will simply become an unmarked grave, incapable of even being forgotten because there won't be anyone left to forget.  


You might want to mention that to your family and friends this Thanksgiving, because we'll be getting a little reminder of our fragility in the form of a 2,034-foot asteroid named 481394 (2006 SF6) by NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object Studies  (CNEOS). 481394 (2006 SF6) has been dubbed "potentially hazardous" by the agency due to its orbital proximity to Earth on November 20th, when it will come perilously close – 2.7 million miles, according to the International Business Times – to our lovely, blue-green planet that, up to this point in human history, seems to have been exceptionally lucky in not being obliterated by a flying space rock.  


For context, the 56-foot Chelyabinsk meteor – which exploded over Russia in 2013 – struck Earth with the force of 30 atomic bombs. If 481394 (2006 SF6) were to be steered by an exceptionally bellicose extraterrestrial force – or whatever – into Earth, the results would be devastating, though they would negate the necessity of tolerating your vaguely-racist Aunt Sharon and sneaking off to chug vodka purloined from your parents liquor cabinet the following week. In any case, it's something to think about the next time you're admiring the stars or wondering how many miles you'll have to run to burn off that second helping of green bean casserole. 


Fortunately, this one won't hit us. Unfortunately, NASA has a history of not noticing incoming asteroids and has already admitted it may be unable to stop an apocalypse-by-asteroid, so count your blessings on Thanksgiving. 


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