Given that the end of the world has been predicted several times in recent years on no more tangible a basis than personal revelation or interpretations of Mayan calendars, the near-miss of an asteroid passing by Earth might well have been worthy of some serious hand-wringing.
Happily, 2011MD, as the McMansion-sized rock is named, is going to pass by Earth by about 7,500 miles. In terms of the vastness of space, that is a near-miss.
But Earth remains a resilient planet in its happy orbit, and even if hit by such a small asteroid, 15 to 60 feet wide, it is likely that the intruder would have burned up in the atmosphere without damage to those of us below. The visitor nevertheless will have another shot at us in 2022, astronomers report.
We’re not dinosaurs yet, ending with the harsh blow of a large asteroid.
Still, it’s a reminder that our universe is bigger than our planet.