Activate asteroid defence shields!

Paul Raven @ 09-12-2008

Earth-asteroid impactA lobby group of scientists have urged the United Nations to invest in a system for detecting near-Earth asteroids that could collide with the planet. We’ve got a lot of existential risks on our plate right now, of which being clobbered into a prehistoric state by a lump of space rock is just one – and a fairly remote possibility, thankfully. But it’s also one that we’d need every spare moment of advance warning to deal with… Bruce Willis will need time to put on a clean vest, if nothing else. Forewarned is forearmed, and all that. [image by goldenrectangle]

That said, space rocks striking planets might have their upsides… at least on currently uninhabited planets. A paper from a Japanese university suggests that meteorites colliding with Earth may have been the source of the amino acid groups that began the chain of life. Not quite as science fictional as panspermia, but still quite a mind-bending thought.