Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia. Peanuts cartoonist Charles Shultz
An asteroid is on possible collision course with Earth this November: Should we be worried?— Graham Media Group
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I confess to occasionally just sitting quietly in my home office and thinking about the universe.

I don’t have any religious inclinations. I’m a 100% science man. So I get curious about the glue that holds everything together, the forces that rip some things apart, and where all the stuff in the universe goes if the universe keeps expanding.

I’d like to blame all this contemplation on the stay-at-home order, but the truth is I started wondering why nothing could be faster than the speed of light when I was 14 years old.

I should have been an astrophysicist instead of a journalist. Alas, I hated math and it hated me back.

Part of my universal curiosity stems from my knowledge that from the beginning of existence, rocks have been flying all around and banging into other rocks. The rocks with the greatest mass and gravity would capture other rocks.

However, that banging did a lot of damage. Look at all those craters on the Moon and the seven other planets in our system. The Earth craters are fairly disguised because we have all that surface water the others lack.

Somewhere over the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang created rocks out of gas, the biggest rocks prevailed and most accreted things settled into orbits around a star. But not all things. There are now strange rocks thought to have been flung out of some far away star system and come to ours as asteroids. If a big one hits us, we’re in deep doodoo. That’s why I’m always thinking about it. You can’t hide from the effects of a strike by a five or ten mile wide asteroid.

Think I’m making this up? Many astronomers now accept that we once had two moons. But one got out of gravitational resonance and did a glancing blow off the Moon we have left. That would explain why the Moon’s far side, which we never see from Earth, is fairly flat with “rims” at the far edges. They call that hit a “splat.” The invader doesn’t bury itself in the target. Here’s an artist’s concept of how that would have looked:

Astronomers still don’t know exactly how huge Earth comes to be sandwiched between small Venus and Mars. Normally, the solar systems’ orders are small, then bigger, then biggest.

When it’s not that way, a planet become a candidate for what’s called lack of resonance and can “migrate” out of its current orbit. 

Jupiter did that way back when.

If we did it … well, maybe I should quit thinking about it and worry more about investment guru Size Orman saying  “You have to be crazy’ to put your money in this investment [a traditional IRA]. You have to be crazy, if you ask me, to be in bonds at this point in time.”

Or what they’ll pick as the new, non-objectionable name for the Eskimo Pie!

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

3 replies on “The End Is Near. Or Maybe Not.”

  1. Now you have ME thinking… why do we always see the same side of the moon? I’d assumed it was spinning just like we do, and so we’d see all sides with some regularity(?).

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