In the 1998 movie “Armageddon,” the Administrator of NASA, played by Billy Bob Thornton, informs the President that a huge asteroid is on a collision course with Earth. The President then asks, “Why didn’t we see this coming?”
The administrator replies that their budget only “allows us to track about 3% of the sky, and begging your pardon sir, but it’s a [really big] sky.”
This scene came to mind after reading about an asteroid designated 2019OK. On July 25th, the 100-meter wide piece of rock passed within 73,000 kilometers of Earth. To put that distance in perspective, the moon is 384,000 kilometers from Earth.
While 2019OK wasn’t big enough to be a “planet killer,” it could have taken out a large city. That’s why one planetary scientist called the pass-by “uncomfortably close.”
Even more uncomfortable was that no one noticed this big rock coming our way until it was almost on top of us. It wasn’t being tracked, so it wasn’t on any list of objects that would be passing near Earth.
But, as they say in sports, “no harm, no foul.” Sure, it jangled some nerves, but no one was hurt by our failure to detect 2019OK until it was too late to do anything about it. Still, there’s a lesson to be learned here.
Though no one was hurt physically, our collective scientific egos should be hurt, or at least chastened. The consistent claims of omniscience afforded to science these days has proven, once again, to be false.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera