Monday, May 20, 2013
There's a lot of chatter about potential incoming meteors all across the Internet. Some of the speculation seems pretty wild. I won't link to them because I lack the skill to judge the voracity of their claims.
What is real is this visible to the naked eye event that happened on the moon. It was a fairly small rock that caused all the commotion: 80 Kg or about 175 pounds. A rock that size would not look out of place in the rock wall by my garden.
The Earth has something the moon doesn't, an atmosphere. A lot of the energy from a rock that size would be absorbed before it ever hit the earth.
We have seen the effects of meteorites before, recently, in fact. The February event in Russia was quite spectacular and injured about 1500 people.
Statistically, the Earth doesn't get hit with honking big chunks of rock from space all that often. A statistician might think since we just had the Russian event, so we might be in the clear for a while.
Like I stated earlier, I'm no expert, but something about the moon event caught my attention. The lunar impact was not an isolated event, but part of a swarm that hit both the moon and the earth. Now meteors enter the earth's atmosphere all the time. Most are only detected with special instruments. Only one impact on the moon was large enough to be special, out of the whole swarm.
Here's where I'm speculating. What if the earth is moving through a particularly chunky part of space right now? What if the next swarm of rocks is significantly bigger? That would have implications for our complicated and interconnected technological civilization.