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Comets, Asteroids and Earth's Future

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On July 4, 2005, NASA's Deep Impact probe completed its scientific mission by colliding with comet Tempel 1 at a speed of more than 23,000 miles per hour. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California reported: "Deep Impact scientists theorize the 820-pound impactor vaporized deep below the comet's surface when the two collided." Scientists want to know more about the nature of comets.

On July 4, 2005, NASA's Deep Impact probe completed its scientific mission by colliding with comet Tempel 1 at a speed of more than 23,000 miles per hour. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California reported: "Deep Impact scientists theorize the 820-pound impactor vaporized deep below the comet's surface when the two collided." Scientists want to know more about the nature of comets. As JPL reported: "Mission scientists hoped the project would answer basic questions about how the solar system formed, by providing an in-depth picture of the nature and composition of the frozen celestial travelers known as comets." (JPL Press Rlease, July 4, 2005)

NASA scientists who study comets and asteroids have focused their attention on Asteroid 2004 MN4. They predict that on April 13, 2029, this asteroid will pass within 23,000 miles of Earth, "just below the altitude of geosynchronous Earth satellites. However, an Earth collision in 2029 is still ruled out… Earth close approaches will be monitored as additional observations are received. However, our current risk analysis for 2004 MN4 indicates that no subsequent Earth encounters in the 21st century are of concern" ("Radar Observations Refine the FutureMotion of Asteroid MN4" by Paul Chodas, Steve Chesley, Jon Giorgini and Don Yeomans, NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office, February 3, 2005)

Four years ago, another NASA spacecraft actually landed on an asteroid. In 2001, the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous craft (later renamed "Near Shoemaker") gave scientists their first high-resolution images of the asteroid Eros. Another asteroid research mission, "Dawn," will launch its spacecraft next year, traveling to two of the oldest and most massive asteroids in our solar system, Vesta and Ceres. The ion-propulsion-powered Dawn spacecraft will reach Vesta in 2010 and Ceres in 2014.

Will comets or asteroids collide with planet Earth in the future? JPL reports: "There is literally tons of material hitting the earth every day! Most of it is just dust and burns up in the atmosphere as shooting stars. On October 9, 1992, a fireball was seen streaking across the sky from Kentucky to New York. At least 14 people captured part of the fireball on videotape. Larger pieces may survive their fiery passage through the atmosphere to hit the ground. It is believed that a 10km wide rock hitting the earth 65 millions of years ago was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs" (JPL: Deep Impact, FAQ)

Is there any real danger of smaller asteroids colliding with earth? An article in National Geographic News warns: "It is almost certain that Earth will be hit by an asteroid large enough to exterminate a large percentage of our planet's life, including possibly over a billion people, according to researchers. But as such cataclysmic collisions occur on average only once in a million years or so, are they really worth worrying about?" ("Killer Asteroids: A Real But Remote Risk?" by John Roach, June 19, 2003

The National Geographic News article quotes a scientist who affirms that an asteroid will, sometime in the unknown future, collide with the earth and destroy human life: "At some point in the geological future a large chunk of rock and ice will smack into Earth and destroy life as we know it. This is a cold, sober, scientific fact, according to Andrea Milani, a researcher at the University of Pisa in Italy. 'A future impact from, say, a 1-kilometer [0.62 mile]-diameter asteroid is, rather than just probable, almost certain over a time span of a million years,' he said" (ibid.).

There are, however, millions of smaller asteroids that can also do great damage, even wiping out whole cities. Can astronomers and scientists track and defend against these smaller threats? National Geographic author Stefan Lovgren reported the sobering answer: "Tracking smaller asteroids is almost impossible, mainly because there are so many of them—ten million in Earth's neighborhood, according to David Morrison, a NASA scientist" (National Geographic News, April 14, 2004)

Smaller asteroids can strike without warning. How will you be protected from these predicted dangers? Those who trust in God can be saved. Read what the Psalmist wrote—will you put your trust in God for your future and for your life? "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling" (Psalm 46:1–3).

Be sure to watch world news in the light of Bible prophecy. While scientists strive to keep track of millions of asteroids, you need to keep track of Bible prophecy as it comes to pass right before your eyes. The Tomorrows World telecast and magazine keep you up to date with world trends and Bible prophecy. Let us consider the Creator's admonition: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Psalm 46:10). God will give us refuge and protection, if we trust in Him. "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" (v. 11).