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Bashing an asteroid

31 August 2022

William sent in the two links. At https://www.yahoo.com/news/nasa-crash-spacecraft-525-foot-152401255.html … NASA has plans to crash a spacecraft into a 525 foot wide asteroid this September – in just a few weeks’ time. The thinking behind it is that it might be too late if there is an asteroid on a collision orbit and therefore they need to know what might deflect it in order to erase the potential danger. Hence, they have earmarked a target asteroid, not on a collision course, as an experiment. The mission will provide astronomers and scientists with important data for the future. That data will be useful if the spacecraft manages to budge the asteroid from its path. If it is a success NASA will have procured knowledge on the subject in the case of future examples of a deadly encounter. If it doesn’t budge, and this is a fairly small asteroid, they will have to go back to the drawing board. The good news is that astronomers now recognise there is a potential danger from space rocks. What does that say about the past? How many times has earth been hit by space rocks, or suffered from the effects of explosive breakups of space objects in the atmosphere? The latter is a big question mark as they don’t leave behind a crater unless they occur close to the ground. A case in point is the recent scientific paper on such an event that destroyed Tall el-Hammam in the Kikkar valley, where the Jordan river runs into the Dead Sea. This occurred only 3600 years ago. Similar events seem to have wiped out the Akkadian civilisation, around 4200 years ago, and there is some evidence of a similar occurrence at the end of the Late Bronze era. See the latest issue of SIS Review.

Meanwhile, at https://www.yahoo.com/news/man-found-dinosaur-bones-yard-130111463.html … Paleontologists in Portugal have unearthed the largest dinosaur remains ever found in Europe, a giant brachiosaurus. Astonishingly, it was discovered in the backyard of a guy digging a hole in the ground. What might other people find when they decide to create a garden pond?

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