ASTEROID! We’re all going to DIE!

Yes, we are all going to die.  One day in the not too distant future, your heart will cease to beat, you will stop breathing, and you will go before your Judge.

And then there is the possibility that an asteroid will hit the earth and we will all die at pretty much the same time.

From ABC:

Asteroid Threat in 2040? Scientists Watch 2011 AG5
48 minutes ago

There is an asteroid called 2011 AG5, and if it follows the orbit scientists have plotted for it so far, there is a small, small chance that it could hit Earth in February 2040. [“Small”!  HAH!  I’ll bet.]

Don’t quit your job and sell your house just yet. Astronomers, who have been tracking the asteroid since January 2011, say it is in an elliptical orbit that could bring it somewhere near Earth in 2040. Earth is about 8,000 miles in diameter; the asteroid appears to be about 450 feet across.

The problem is that having watched it for only about half an orbit around the Sun, the scientists cannot say for certain where it will be 28 years from now. So, for the moment, NASA’s Near Earth Object Program says the odds are about one in 625 that it could hit us in that still-distant future.

“We have a good opportunity to observe it next year and again in 2015,” said Donald Yoemans, who heads the program at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “We fully expect that the odds will go way down, most likely to zero, by then.”  [That’s what they always say.]


It isn’t too late to make a donation!

I am sooooo close to hitting my monthly goal for the first time in… I can’t remember.
Soooo close.
Finally, this is a good opportunity to remind you to go to confession…. before 2040.How about this week?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Global Killer Asteroid Questions, GO TO CONFESSION and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Mark Windsor says:

    How close are you to your goal?

  2. wanda says:

    Mark, Scroll down the page and in the right-hand margin you will come to a monthly goal graphic, it looks like a thermometer.

  3. Phil_NL says:

    But but …. Father! You’re asking us to get your monthly goal in the one month that’s shorter than all others! Even on this leap-day, we should still have another day…. Is this an example of “Thou reapest where You have not sowed”?

    Anyway, there should be some good news in your inbox by now.

    PS: @wanda: depends, on the main page it’s visible for me, but not on the pages of each entry. Not too sure it updates in real time either.

  4. Phil_NL says:

    Whether or no the thermometer / counter is visible seems to be a browser issue (Ok with chrome, not with IE). And maybe it does update in real time.

  5. APX says:

    I don’t get paid until mid march now. Sorry.

  6. The Cobbler says:

    I’m estimating based on what I think I recall from hearing of prior impacts, so anybody with better data feel free to correct me, but aren’t we talking here less about anything that would cripple Earth as we know it and more about something that’s big enough to be guaranteed to leave a crater? Granted, that could take out a town, or blow up in atmo and damage the natural resources in an entire area, but I doubt this is anywhere near big enough to be a major threat to life in general — I’d guess it’d rate obviously and significantly lower than, say, Yellowstone deciding to erupt again (which could conceivably end all human life even if animal life in general survived it twice in the past), or even than a total nuclear war. Heck, if civilization is still around when it comes, I’m pretty sure we have missiles that can get high in atmo and can shatter anything a mere 450 feet across into tiny pieces without leaving anything terrible like nuclear radiation all over the place in doing so. That being said, if civilization _is_ back to the dark ages by 2040, a whole town could be killed all at once.

    I’m an incurable optimist when it comes to things like this — disasters tend so much to be overestimated, and people’s innate common sense (even if normally drowned in lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life) is so strong in crises, that I’m gonna be genuinely surprised when the world comes to its end. It helps that I’m unconvinced that our present day situation of civilization and culture is really all that different from much of the past 2000 years on any fundamental level. The Church has enemies, civilization grows proud and makes stupid mistakes, human beings are cruel creatures and only the more so when they think they have others’ best interests in mind, and in all life can be nasty but goes on nonetheless. I guess God’s gotta decide to wrap things up with some world-ending act sooner or later, but I’m just not convinced that what we’re seeing in the world today is any better indication that it’s sooner than ancient Rome’s decadence was.

    All that said, if God does want to end the world with an asteroid, it’ll probably happen to contain the Andromeda Strain, just becaues that’d make for a more prolonged, drawn out collapse of life on Earth than being obliterated on impact. Then again, maybe I’m reading prolongedness into Revelation; maybe much of those final sequences will actually happen in a seemingly short period of time from our perspective.

    I guess my point is… it’s good to keep in mind that we don’t have the foggiest clue when and how our end will come, but it’s good to keep in mind that we don’t have the foggiest clue when and how our end will come, if you see what I mean.

  7. The Cobbler says:

    Actually, forget that and just note this: the point of remembering that the end could be any time (before you finish reading this, even) isn’t to hunker down and await it, it’s to go out and do things that are actually gonna matter after the end instead of running around doing things that aren’t. That’s really all I’m trying to get at when it comes to my take on fears for the end or anything; but I can get so lost in tangents.

  8. ericrun says:

    I’m in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. Father will be in the confessional during CCD tonight. Last week, Fr mentioned that he could count on one hand the number of people that showed up for Wednesday night confessions during the first 4 weeks of Lent. I or my wife will do it tonight.

  9. Random Friar says:

    450 feet across shouldn’t be Earth-level bad, although I imagine some city might have a very unpleasant morning.

    I still think that technologically and morally, the odds are stacked in favor of human knuckleheaded-ness doing us in, if anything would.

  10. wanda says:

    Random Friar, ‘knuckleheaded-ness doing us in’. You said a mouthful.

  11. AttiaDS says:

    Clearly this WONT happen ….. The world is going to end on 12/21/12 first. Duh.

Comments are closed.