Space Rocks, Air Bags and Armageddon
Vol: 11 Issue: 30 Friday, August 30, 2002
The headlines continue to contain to remind us that it is only a matter of time before the next big asteroid strike wipes us all out as allegedly happened to the dinosaurs 85 million years ago.
In a story with the catchy, 21st century sounding title, ‘Ready to tackle Armageddon’ the BBC explains how the European Space Agency is planning to develop an earth defense system to protect us all from incoming asteroids.
A Spanish company, Deimos-Space, is designing the mission and hopes its plans will convince ESA to give the go-ahead for a full scale test on a real asteroid. The company has come up with a plan, which it calls the Don Quixote mission, to launch a pair of probe spacecraft called Hidalgo and Sancho at a far off asteroid.
One would hit the asteroid at extremely high speed, deflecting it slightly from its orbit.
The other would observe the asteroid and make highly accurate measurements of what happened to it after the impact. The idea is that the mission would tell scientists how hard they would have to hit a real rogue asteroid heading for Earth in order to deflect it safely.
In essence, Deimos is developing a cosmic game of 8-ball and it’d like to figure out how much English to use before it’s time to shoot the gameball.
If all goes according to plan, the asteroid’s orbit will be shifted at impact by a few fractions of a millimeter. Tiny changes in orbit can become much larger over time and Deimos wants to use the experiment to calculate how to knock a real rogue asteroid off course.
The mission planners say that their plan would only work if they had enough warning time, since it would take months for the Deimos Project to reach the target after launch.
The plan sounds unreassuringly like the Bruce Willis movie, “Armageddon”. (In the movie, they saved the earth, but Bruce Willis got killed).
That’s probably why mathematician Dr. Hermann Burchard suggests a giant airbag, according to a an article in the latest edition of ‘New Scientist’ magazine. Burchard’s plan is quite detailed and is generating some excitement among other mathemeticians (who say the last one hit 85 million years ago, but evidently failed to calculate what once in 85 million years does to the odds).
Burchard wants to inflate a giant airbag made of some lightweight material (he favors Mylar) from outer space, and then drag the airbag into the path of the oncoming asteroid, steering it using a spacecraft.
“Then all you need is to take enough fuel along. You push it very gently. You don’t want to push too hard because comets are very loose conglomerations of pristine matter,” the professor at Oklahoma State University said in an interview.
It’s a serious matter, said Dr. B. “There is a very, very realistic threat to humanity” that would require “nations should constitute some of or other national agency to set up a defense mechanism.”
So, what’s it gonna be? An armada of oil driggers preparing for a mission on an asteroid on two week’s notice? Or a European cosmic pool table? Or a giant air bag?
We must do something soon. After 85 billion years, there’s gotta be a cosmic bullet out there with Planet Earth’s name on it somewhere.
All this attention to something as provably unlikely as an incoming asteroid has the conspiracy theorists abuzz: the governments of the world have discovered a Doomsday Asteroid coming right at us and the ‘experiments’ are really the real thing, some say.
Unlikely. The only way you could keep the impending destruction of the earth a secret would be if, right after you told them, you shot them before they could talk to anybody else. And that wouldn’t be very helpful for the long range goals of the project.
So what’s all the hubbub, bub? If the last time this happened, the only survivor was Barney, and from there, it took lizards going through the butterfly/elephant/ardvaark/platypus/ape/gorilla/scientist evolution process all the way up to the beginning of recorded human history and ultimately inventing a telescope so we could scare the pants off ourselves, then why the big scare now?
Why now, as Dr. Burchard warns, is “there is a very, very realistic threat to humanity” that would require “nations should constitute some of or other national agency to set up a defense mechanism.”
Wrong. The real answer? Because that is what the Bible said would be the case in the last days. And not just because the last one missed Barney the Purple Dinosaur, either.
In outlining events as they would unfold before that future generation to whom He was addressing His comments, Jesus warned “there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars” — which accurately reflects the growing hysteria since first we launched the Hubble Space Telescope and discovered how infinitely vast the universe is. Scared us half to death, which is precisely what Jesus said it would do.
As a consequence of being able to see more of the universe than ever before, we discovered that there were billions of space rocks, any one of which could hit us. All those rocks were there before; but now we know about them. Creating what Jesus said would cause “upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity.”
It is no stretch to see in His Words reflected in today’s headlines, screaming that ‘something must be done’ to protect us from the ‘very realistic threat to humanity’ posed by asteroid strikes.
Jesus had more to say about Dr. Burchard and the Deimos Project in the following verse; “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”
There’s no doubt about it: the fear of oncoming asteroids is real. Nobody kicks out a couple of billion dollars to practice their English in outer space just to improve their pool game. It is difficult to imagine anyone publishing an article in New Scientist 25 years ago, seriously proposing we build an airbag to protect us from incoming asteroids.
And there is no legitimate reason to believe, mathematically speaking, that another Big One is due, just because its been an alleged 85 million years. How long was the interval between that one and the one before? C’mon.
Jesus was pointing out more than simply a sudden fear of big rocks and digital telescopes. As humanity grows more arrogant in its knowledge, it grows less dependent on the defense it relied on since prehistory. Once we simply shrugged our shoulders and said something like that was in God’s Hands.
God can no longer be trusted, since science says He no longer is. Consequently, we are defenseless against space rocks.
And so goes the scenario as outlined by the One Who really does shield the earth from falling space rocks. He said that while scientists are keeping an eye peeled for falling space rocks, they will get an unexpected eyeful, because He says, “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Although we are eyewitnesses to the fulfillment of the ‘signs in the sky’ part of the prophecy, what does it mean to us now, since what we are seeing is only in it’s developing stages?
Note that these verses, Luke 21:25-27, aren’t taken piecemeal from various places in Scripture to make the point. It is a single, consecutive narrative.
A narrative that concludes in the next verse; “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
My apologies for the lateness of some recent Omega Letters. Some network development issues have slowed us down, but they are almost completed. And I’d like to beg your indulgence and publish this particular OL as a column for public consumption — with an appended salvation message. This story might turn a skeptic around. No point in only preaching to the choir, I hope you agree. On another side note, Mike and I have some new, interactive, subscriber-only features on the drawing board. [Mike threatened me with bodily injury if I let the cat out of the bag about specifics before he is done beta testing, but you’re gonna like them.] And we have a new design genius coming aboard as part of our team, so look for some improvements in both asthetics and design in the coming weeks. Summer is almost over, and its time to really get down to business. Thank you all for your support, loyalty and friendship, and prayers — the latter more than the former. Finances remain very tight, [probably due to the summer] but thanks to your prayers, we seemed to have somehow made it each month. And, know that you are in our prayers, as well, as we carry the battle forward together, until He comes. – Jack