It can be a bit overwhelming to think about, but there are just some things in this world that we will never be able to control.
Mankind has been pushing a whole slew of limits as of late, and exponentially so. To think of the vast technological chasms that we’ve crossed in the last two decades alone, from mobile phones weighing upward of a pound to a powerful computer the case of two credit cards in everyone’s pocket, you would think that we are on the path toward a Jetsons-like future in the coming months.
But, for all of that effort and all of that ingenuity, it would take very little effort for the universe to erase us with a rock from space, much like it has done over and over in the past.
NASA has this week issued an alert for just such a possibility, as a rather large hunk of somewhere or something else hurtles our direction.
NASA has issued an alert that a “potentially hazardous asteroid” is on a “close approach” toward Earth. However, it’s nothing to be alarmed at, as the asteroid is expected to zoom past the planet approximately 3 million miles away.
The enormous space rock, known as asteroid 2016 NF23 and estimated to be between 230 and 525 feet in diameter, will zip past Earth on Aug. 29 at a velocity of 9.04 kilometers per second, or approximately 20,000 miles per hour, the government space agency said on its Earth Close Approaches page.
It is the third largest near-Earth object (NEO) on the page, behind two other asteroids which will fly past Earth in the early part of September: 2001 RQ17 and 2015 FP118.
At 230 feet, it would be slightly smaller than a Boeing 747. At the high-end of the estimate, 525 feet, it would be taller than the Great Pyramid of Giza, which is approximately 455 feet high.
While the threat certainly isn’t immediate, the mere fact that NASA has issued a statement is noteworthy, and a powerful reminder of just how puny we can be down here, arguing about which crook is going to represent us in Washington DC.