Posts Tagged With: meteors

Mars as Planet B?

Fantastic World

A protestor’s sign at a Paris gathering devoted to the study of climate change read: “There is no Planet B.”

Well, not now, anyway. But scientists are increasingly turning to Mars as a planet that might be hospitable for human colonization. In October, NASA (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration) declared that colonizing Mars in 20 years was an “achievable goal.”

If you are wondering why the forbidding red planet with its subzero temperatures and almost nonexistent atmosphere is getting a second look, scientists explain that it all has to do with the discovery of water on Mars by the latest NASA lander. Just a few years ago, critics were wondering if the lander was worth its $2.5 million price tag. No longer, the discovery of water has made scientists take a new look at Mars.

“Mars is obviously the logical next place to expand our capabilities and getting Earth crews there,” Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin told CNBC in a recent interview. Aldrin is famous as the second man to walk on the moon. He said sending humans to Mars would  be an achievement “that’s unparalleled in humanity.”

Despite Mars’ thin nitrogen-based atmosphere and ferocious dust storms, many researchers are looking at ways to change conditions to make the red planet habitable for humans. (No word on how they would warm the icy planet up.)

It’s Mars or we tough it out on earth should a calamity hit, says Jim Greene, director of NASA’s planetary science. That’s because the earth runs a risk of being hit by a huge asteroid. Recently, NASA revealed that it was monitoring a 480-meter asteroid that could collide with the Earth sometime in the next four decades. British astronomers are even more forbidding, saying there’s a good likelihood that a large space comet or asteroid could cause world panic, if not disaster.

“Asteroids cross our orbit frequently and we know we’re going to get hit again,” Green told CNBC. “It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

Gulp! And where’s the news on the technology that would break up such a meteor before it hits Earth? No reports on anything functional yet. Frankly, I think they better get working on that before they think they can terra-form Mars.

Categories: Planets | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Of comets and the end of the world

Graham Hancock

Graham Hancock

Fantastic World

British best-selling author and journalist Graham Hancock (and one of my favorite writers) reports that after more than 20 years of research, he has come to the conclusion that the floods that came at the end of the Great Ice Age (12,800 years ago give or take a few millennia) were almost certainly caused by a great comet or meteors hitting the earth. The floods, known world-wide by various myths such as Noah’s Flood, tales of rampaging waters destroying the homes of the Cowichan people of British Columbia, the Pima of Arizona, the Inuit of Alaska, the Uiseno of California and the Obijawa of the Canadian grasslands, and many more. All over the world, in most ancient cultures, there is a tale of giant deluge swamping the earth.

Most of this has been dismissed by historians who consider myths to be nothing more than tall tales meant to entertain the people around campfires. There also was a prevalent geological theory that change happens to the earth gradually, and that no sudden events transformed the earth or its climate. However, by the 20th century, this gradualist view was being challenged by Russian scientist Immanuel Velikovsky, who said violent events, such as earthquakes and comet strikes had accounted for some of the most drastic changes in the world’s long geological history. By the 21st century, we take it as a given that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a comet.

But Hancock, in an interview with England’s The Daily Mail, goes even further to suggest that a giant comet strike, well detailed by the Ojibwa, was to blame for the ancient melting of the ice caps and the sudden plunge into a watery, cold world. He says that some survivors sailed the earth looking for toeholds where they could once again spread the knowledge of cosmology, writing, and healing. He traces legends of historical holy men and gets into the long-held debate of whether Egypt was settled by such wise people who introduced them to writing and mathematics. It’s a valid argument because Egyptologists still can’t explain how a full language, with beautiful characters, rose out of a desert of no known culture.

Hancock figures the comet’s flood happened about 12,800 years ago. Civilizations older than Egypt such as Babylon, have almost no artifacts left behind, whereas Egypt is replete with carvings, artwork, even the pyramids that many argue were not tombs but places of safekeeping for documents and precious objects. Hancock also goes on to describe Gobekeii Tepe in Turkey, which has the oldest work of monumental architecture in the world, with pillars weighing 20 tons. Gobekeii Tepe is said to be 12,000 years old.

How can Hancock be sure a comet wiped out the early earth? There are nanodiamonds present in the layer of earth that was formed in the Younger Dryas, or the epoch between 10,800 BC and 9,800 BC. These microscopic gems are formed under conditions of great shock, pressure, and heat. They are often recognized by scientists as signs of comet or asteroid impacts.

And the crater? It would have melted long ago when the ice caps unfroze.

But don’t feel so safe about our world now. As scientists have been telling us, there are plenty of giant comets and meteors that could collide with the earth, causing another catastrophe. Many laser-defense systems have been designed, but it’s unclear whether the Earth really has anything in place right now to avoid doomsday. Hancock says such destructive comets could arrive in as little as 15 years when we cross the Taurid meteor stream.

Well, I’m not going to spend nights up worrying about this. Someone will come up with a meteor shield in that time—won’t they? But Hancock’s material is fascinating and certainly the stuff that fantasy readers (and, yes, that include you Atlantis believers out there) will simple devour.

His new book is “The Magician’s of the Gods,” now on sale in the U.K. We here in the U.S. will either have to wait or do what I’ve done with Hancock books I couldn’t wait to get my hands on: order from No advertisement here, but I’ve found them fast and surprisingly cheap.

Categories: end of world, Fantastic World, rise of civilizations | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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