Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is It a Miracle We're Still Here?

This morning, while preparing for my round of sprints, I looked up at the dark early morning sky.  I do this each morning I do my sprints, because it is still dark, and the stars in the firmament are quite visible. As I looked up, I was fortunate enough to see a shooting star (meteor) streak across the sky.  Which got me thinking…

According to geologists and cosmologists, the Earth has been in existence for about 4.5 billion years. During that time the Earth and Moon have been occasionally bombarded by meteorites of various sizes. It is believed that about 100 million years ago, Earth was struck by an object from space large enough that the explosion and debris cast off, wiped out almost all life on Earth. Fortunately for we humans, some population of then existent mammals survived, ultimately thrived, and humans evolved from that humble new beginning.

Now we have large telescopes, mathematics, and massive computational capabilities. We've begun to realize how common it is for the Earth to be pummeled by these astral objects – and how often we’ve missed being struck by other objects that can cause similar damage and destruction.

Just this year there was a large bus-sized object that passed the Earth inside the orbit of the Moon. From a cosmological stand point, that’s liking having a bullet miss your head by about a millimeter – a very close call.

It's enough to make you pause and wonder about how fortunate it is that after 100 million years, we're still here ...

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