Who cares about voting? Haven’t you heard? There’s an asteroid about to hit the Earth! It’ll happen right before Election Day! “Everyone to get from streets!”
At least that’s what the teaser headlines said. (All except for that last bit of advice, which really wasn’t part of the possible asteroid carnage. It’s a line from one of my favorite movies, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, and I’ve always wanted to use it in a column.)
Alas, it appears as if we’ll have to endure the non-stop barrage of political advertising without the interruption of a visiting hunk of rock from space. There apparently most definitely is an asteroid headed toward us, but it seems the offending bit of space debris is about the size of a refrigerator. And even though it’s hurtling toward our planet at about 25,000 miles per hour, it has a less than 1% chance of hitting Mother Earth. I was really hoping for something a bit more exciting. Not that I wanted a dinosaur-era-sized dust storm to be kicked up and the Sun to be blocked for a hundred years or so, thereby wiping out human civilization. But a big ol’ crater in the middle of the desert somewhere would really be kind of fitting as an exclamation point to the winding down of 2020, wouldn’t it?
Such an event might even have given TV pundits and newspaper headline writers something different to talk and opine about instead of the usual “Trump’s a Bum!” and “Biden’s a Crook!” exclamations. You’d think the media would have used up pretty much all the negative adjectives and adverbs by now. But this is the age of recycling, so the same diatribes continue apace from both sources of venom.
Wouldn’t it be cool if that asteroid hit the wet markets in China (where allegedly Covid-19 originated) when no one was around? Ground zero would then be kind of neutralized without anyone getting hurt. The Chinese government would blame us, of course, but what else is new?
If the space waste did hit that particular piece of terra firma, it would be interesting to see how both political parties handled the situation. You know for certain candidates would be trying to take credit. And perhaps stretching the truth just a bit.
“We directed the Space Force Commander to shoot a laser from one of our satellites to knock the asteroid into the perfect trajectory as it entered Earth’s atmosphere.”
“Hey, we took out bin Laden. Guiding this thing in with a nudge from a drone or two was a piece of cake.”
In reality, even if this current speeding mass were to reach the surface of Earth, extensive research shows it would be one of over 6,000 meteors that hit us every year. (Just in case you were wondering, it seems an asteroid is a rock that orbits the Sun. It’s a meteor – or meteoroid – when a small piece of said rock burns up as it enters Earth’s atmosphere.) Pretty much all of them land in uninhabited areas, or plop into the vast amounts of saline aqua that look so nice and blue from high above.
I don’t have a clue how astrophysicists determine this, but I saw that every 2,000 years or so, a meteoroid the size of a football field hits the Earth. Something that big can inflict significant damage. Cause it’s not exactly parachuting in. Something moving at 25,000 MPH could circle our planet about once an hour. That’s even faster than a presidential debate rejoinder.
It seems the kind of meteoroid we really have to be concerned with are the ones that slam into us every couple of million years. I’m not sure where we fall in that timeframe at this moment in history, but I feel certain stargazers would give us some warning if we were getting close.
For now, we’ll have to be content with our little refrigerator rocket. Even a little dust-up as we approach Election Day would be a welcome relief. Not that everything is going to end on November 3rd. Some kind of “we was robbed” squabble will undoubtedly emerge from the losing side.
If there are truly some undecided voters out there, perhaps they’ll use the asteroid as a coin-flip of sorts. “If it hits, I choose him. If it doesn’t, I pick the other guy.” Given that scenario, it’s certainly one way to “rock the vote.” (Please excuse that last line. It really was just too good to pass up. I even groaned when I wrote it. But it was worth it.)
©MMXX. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer