When the massive planet-killer asteroid strikes, the seas will boil, ejecta will block the sun, planetary temperatures will drop and everyone who didn’t die in the initial fiery inferno or the bone crushing flesh ripping tsunamis, will freeze and starve and then freeze some more until they die in the lonely agony of stiff, frigid hunger and horror.

Or not.

That why this story is pretty interesting. From The Telegraph:

Astronauts plan $250 million asteroid telescope ‘to stop disaster’
Apollo astronauts warn only “blind luck” has prevented worse disasters as they push for $250 million telescope to spot asteroids on collision course with Earth

As members of an elite band of cosmic explorers, they are among the few to have gone beyond the final frontier and looked down on the Earth from space.
Now, inspired by the unique perspective they gained of their home planet – and armed with startling new data about the scale of the threat it faces from asteroid strikes – a group of former Nasa astronauts are on an extraordinary mission to save the world.
Fourteen months after an asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on a scale equivalent to 30 Hiroshima bombs, the B612 Foundation, a non-profit group founded by Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart and space shuttle astronaut Ed Lu, are warning that only “blind luck” has so far saved it from worse.
“It’s a giant game of chance we’re playing. It’s cosmic roulette,” said Dr Lu, whose group is working towards building and launching Sentinel, a $250 million telescope that would spot space rocks on a collision course with the earth, giving several years or even decades worth of notice to deflect a disaster.
“There’s a saying in Vegas that ‘The house never loses’. It’s true; you can’t just keep playing a game of chance and expect to keep winning,” added Dr Lu, the group’s chief executive officer.


We are literally in a shooting gallery,” said Mr Schweickart. “That’s the message we want people to understand. It’s happening, it’s ongoing, and the big ones will come. It’s just a matter of when.”


Two things.

Flaming planetary death is better with a good mug of coffee.

No… three things.

First, since death is imminent, please use my donation button, the wavy flag. Thanks.

Next, drink all the Mystic Monk Coffee you can now. When that asteroid hits, friends, you are going to have other worries. So stock up.  I hear theK-cups are great.

Finally, examine your consciences and…


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, Global Killer Asteroid Questions, GO TO CONFESSION, Look! Up in the sky! and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Jerry says:

    The article doesn’t even suggest, much less explain, how detecting asteroids on a collision-course with Earth will change the outcome: we aren’t going to change the trajectory of the planet and I know of no means of changing the trajectory of an asteroid. It seems to me prayer would be a lot more fruitful than a telescope.

    I don’t know who are the bigger fools: those behind the B612 Foundation or the so-called reporters who pass on their nonsense without asking the most obvious of questions.

  2. APX says:


    If Hollywood has taught me anything, it’s that we can build a spaceship and fly some Rig Pigs to the asteroid, and use their massive drills to a hole in it and plant one of those weapons of mass destruction into it and blow it up.

  3. HeatherPA says:

    Hollywood says we can send secret shuttles and spaceships loaded with nuclear bombs to destroy the dastardly asteroids that dare to target Earth. Since everything Hollywood suggests is true, I will sleep much easier now with the magic telescope on the way and Channing Tatum et. al. on standby to man the mission.

  4. Father, I wish I could. I’m growing incredibly frustrated with how infrequently confession is offered in parishes – and how seldom it’s offered before Mass on Sundays.

  5. Kerry says:

    The O-administration is a killer asteroid.

  6. Mike says:

    I was talking about the blood moon the other day, and then….the other night had a dream that a fiery moon-sized object was dropping right above us…a huge arc of fire….didn’t matter where you ran….then I woke up.

    Fr. Z’s right. Go to Confession.

  7. MattW says:

    Well, on the bright side, we won’t have to worry about global warming.

  8. We have a perfectly splendid parish priest who I brag about frequently on this blog, but I have to admit he has one weakness – a taste for the more dubious and sensationalist unapproved mystics. He is always glad to tell us of the impending Russian conquest of the Vatican, or the Islamic hordes, or whatever else his current favourite mystic has predicted for the next five to ten years.

    He hasn’t yet hit on to asteroid impacts, though, which surprises me, as there’s one in the Book of Revelation. I must remind him about this.

    Ah well. I’m still glad we decided to buy a dishwasher. Somehow all this cosmic catastrophe pales into insignificance when I look at my sparkling stemware.

  9. acardnal says:



  10. Donate,drink coffee and go to confession. Love the plan.
    “The O-administration is a killer asteroid.” yep. Unfortunately it seems to be a very slow,painful,death and one that could have been avoided.
    As for the stuff coming at us from space. Donate,drink coffee and go to confession. We can’t move the earth and nothing is going to hit us anyway UNLESS it’s in God’s design(meant to happen).

  11. Kerry, now that i’ve thought about it for a minute think i’d rather go out with some space rocks than die this slow death from the space cadet in the WH. Will probably be drinking coffee when it hits.

  12. Bea says:

    That and global warming.

    If it comes, it comes.
    Who’s going to stop it? (humanly speaking, of course. because only God can.)
    And the atheists are marching on and on and on.
    Pledge of allegiance “One nation under God” under attack again.

    I only hope God doesn’t give up on us.
    I see no walking saints on earth since Mother Teresa and Padre Pio.
    Father Z? and friends?

  13. Navarricano says:

    Blind luck? Nope.


    I tend toward the belief that if “the big one” hasn’t struck yet, it’s because God’s hand is stayed by His Mercy. We need to avail ourselves of that mercy, though, so Father’s constant urging to go to Confession is extremely helpful.

  14. JonPatrick says:

    Probably makes more sense to spend the money on hardening the power grid against the effects of an EMP, which is a more likely scenario and could be done cheaper than building a giant telescope. Besides don’t we already have the Hubble up there, why can’t it look for asteroids?

  15. pannw says:

    @Kerry says:
    “The O-administration is a killer asteroid.”

    And I didn’t need a $250 m telescope to see it coming. Too bad so many self proclaimed Catholics couldn’t.

    @Navarricano, exactly.

    @Fr. Z., Laughing Out Loud at your Mystic Monk icon. Flaming planetary death… LOL

    I’m so glad I have faith, or all this death and destruction coming at us would be horrifying, but with it, I can laugh with the good humored posts here. It’s still a little scary to think of, but I don’t worry the way I did only a few years ago. If only my husband and mother would be converted…Please help me pray for them.

  16. MarylandBill says:

    As an amateur astronomer and a long time space geek, I might be able to add a little bit of info to help explain the utility of searching for asteroids that might one day impact the Earth.

    The goal is not to spot the asteroid when it is only a month or two away from impact. Jerry was quite right when he said that there is little you can do at that point other than store up plenty of food and water and hope you are far enough away from the impact to survive the initial blast, make a good confession and attend mass as often as you can.

    The goal is to catalog as many earth crossing asteroids as possible, especially those large enough to seriously disrupt life on Earth if an impact were to occur. Once we have cataloged the asteroids, we can calculate their orbits and assess the potential risk they pose. We also would need to keep an eye on the asteroids to make sure their orbits do not change.

    If we find an asteroid that is likely to hit us years in advance, it really only would take a very small nudge to shift its orbit enough to remove the risk. A small ion thruster or even a solar sail could be enough to shift the orbit if it was used a year or more in advance.

  17. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Actually, the traditional interpretation of the star that will fall into the sea, that is like a burning mountain, and that has the name Wormwood, is that he is not so much a fallen star or asteroid, but rather, Satan fallen from heaven. It’s pretty clear if you read the book without skiffy/science fiction images in your head, because “star” is often a Biblical way of talking about an angel, and particularly about Satan.

  18. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Of course this doesn’t mean that asteroids can’t fall on us and smack us like a big smacky thing, since they’ve done it at various points in our planet’s history. But while prudence to protect ourselves is a good thing (and there’s a great old song about the asteroid watch concept, called “Guardians”), we shouldn’t feel terrified by the fact that the Lord has created a Creation that’s full of potentially dangerous stuff. Rather, we should feel grateful to His planning and providence in keeping us safe most of the time (instead of the world continually smacking us with big smacky things).

  19. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Er… actually that’s the wrong song title. That’s the song about protective astronaut ghosts/apparitions. Man, where is my memory these days? “Sentries” is the old space song I meant, off the Minus Ten and Counting album.

  20. JustaSinner says:

    One of my favorite go-to prayers:
    “Glory be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, as was in the beginning, now, and forever after, WORLD WITH OUT END, Amen”
    Me thinks that sums up the odds of a world-ending asteroid…

  21. Suburbanbanshee says:

    JustaSinner – Heh!

    Actually, “world without end” was originally “weoruld” without end, and a weoruld is an age, in Old English. “Secula seculorum” is age of ages, an endless age. “Weoruld” became our current word “world” by a meaning change over the years, mostly because the Bible does use “this age” as a near-synonym for “this world” in a lot of places.

    Not that this weakens your point!

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    You are taking about the Torino Scale (named from Turin, Italy, where the conference was held). The scale is 1 – 10:

    0. No problem
    1. Normal
    2 – 4: Meriting Attention
    5 – 7: Threatening
    8 – 10: Certain

    The Tunguska meteor was an 8 on the TS.

    A more technical scale is the Palermo Technical Impact Scale, defined as:

    PS = log R
    R = Pi /(fb x DT)
    Where, R is the relative risk, Pi is the probability of impact, fb is the energy release factor (fb = .03 x E^-4/5), E = energy released in Megatons, DT is time it impact, in years.

    There is an asteroid, AG5, that has a 1:500 chance of hitting the earth in 2040, only 26 years from now. It would be an 8 on the TS if it hit, causing regional damage, but not an extinction-level event.

    Of course, there is a reasonable probability that we won’t have any advanced warning of the Big One.

    Actually, we can deflect the path of an asteroid if we can see it in time. We have successfully landed a probe on the asteroid Ceres, so, in theory, with enough lead time, we could fly probe to the asteroid and then use thrusters to alter its orbit. The problem is, as the astronauts note, detection. I do not consider this a frivolous endeavor, at all.

    The Chicken

  23. RJHighland says:

    I loved the Star Trek episode about the planet that the crew of the Enterprise beamed down to that had an asteroid destroying pyramid on it that no body on the planet knew how to use. So this idea for the need of an asteroid destroyer has been going on for awhile. Hey if we get hit by one it was probably sent by God to reboot the system again. Hey does anyone know when the asteroid hit the western Gulf of Mexico?

  24. not to go too far off topic but a question.
    I was reading how the Church has condemned the Maria Divine Mercy messages. No small wonder. That said,there is credibility to the private revelation of 3 days of darkness. In some articles i read that the Church would give the faithful preparation. in other articles i read it comes without warning.
    I happened to be thinking that perhaps an asteroid smack could cause just such a 3 day period of darkness. What does anyone know about this private revelation and which one is accurate? Disregard the MDM messages. I don’t give them a lick of credibility. I just happened to jump from Father’s blog on We’re All Going To Die to another blog re the condemnation of DMD and then onto a third about the 3 Days of Darkness.

  25. OrthodoxChick says:


    What is the 3 days of darkness? Never heard of it. Is it one of those Protestant end times thingies like the rapture?

    Well, whatever it is, the way I figure it, if you’re talking about TEOTWAWKI; the Second Coming, then I’m not expecting any warning. If, however, you mean that there’s supposed to be some sort of mini, almost-the-end-but-not-quite-the-end type of event, I figure if God wishes to spare anyone, faithful Catholics perhaps, He’ll either give those few some sort of heads-up a la Noah, or He’ll just safely deliver them through whatever the mini, almost-the-end-but-not-quite-the-end thingie turns out to be.

    The way society is going down hill so rapidly, we might just find out which it will be during our lifetime.

  26. Andkaras says:

    Banshee-who needs asteroid “smacky things” when we have so many catholics around who want to smack us every time we affirm the Church teaching on true marriage?

  27. pannw says:


    The Three Days of Darkness is a prophesy from Blessed Anna Maria Taigi and I think others.

    “God will send two punishments: one will be in the form of wars, revolutions and other evils; it shall originate on earth. The other will be sent from Heaven. There shall come over the whole earth an intense darkness lasting three days and three nights. Nothing can be seen, and the air will be laden with pestilence which will claim mainly, but not only, the enemies of religion. It will be impossible to use any man-made lighting during this darkness, except blessed candles. He, who out of curiosity, opens his window to look out, or leaves his home, will fall dead on the spot. During these three days, people should remain in their homes, pray the Rosary and beg God for mercy. All the enemies of the Church, whether known or unknown, will perish over the whole earth during that universal darkness, with the exception of a few whom God will soon convert. The air shall be infected by demons who will appear under all sorts of hideous forms.”
    (Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, Private Prophecies, Rome, 1863)

  28. Kerry says:

    Regarding the asteroid(s) from Chicago at the Casablanca, if memory serves, Father Corapi told of once asking a “very Holy Mother Superior” about the present political class. As quickly as without blinking she replied, “Punishment for sin”.

  29. Supertradmum says:

    Private prophecies are not infallible teachings of the Church and can be believed or not. Writings of the saints are also not infallible, even those of the Doctors of the Church. Doctrines and dogmas are infallible. When a Doctor of the Church upholds an infallible doctrine, of course, that teaching falls into that level of truth.

    One must be careful with prophecies of all kinds.

  30. Marcus de Alameda says:

    JonathanCatholic, “incredibly frustrated with how infrequently confession is offered in parishes”

    I share your frustration. The parish I attend is rare in that it offers confession before and during each Sunday Mass (concludes before the consecration) and during the week. Most all other parishes in the diocese offer confession only on Saturday afternoons slated for a full half hour (3:30 to 4:00pm) or by special appointment. That is the extent of importance the sacrament of confession is given by a majority of our good shepherds. We have all heard the mantra (excuses – sloth) for many years about the Church being more open, caring, inclusive, not enough priests, people don’t want it, we don’t teach that anymore, that was before the new council,.. etc. The result is a loss of formation in understanding our faith, and has made regular confession a very low priority for most modern Catholics, if it is even acknowledged at all. That is what I get from most Catholics on average. This distorted pattern over years has become habit/vice and has taken root to de-emphasize the fallen nature within the soul, makes light of sin, omits Hell, and promotes a destructive wide path to heaven. Priests and bishops should be kindly reminded to please promote the sacrament of confession from the pulpit consistently and make it more available. A charitable letter of concern asking ‘why the sacrament of confession is not being promoted…’ would be a prudent first step of communication.
    God bless

  31. Supertradmum, you are right. One must be careful with prophecies of all kinds.

    Whereas sparkling stemware, freshly retrieved from a new dishwasher, will never let you down.

  32. Marie Teresa says:

    @Marcus de Alameda
    “… incredibly frustrated with how infrequently confession is offered in parishes …”

    Me, too. :.(

    No Confession.
    No Holy Water.
    No weekday Mass.
    Nothing for Divine Mercy Sunday – no prayers, no Confession.
    Sometimes the priest distributes Communion; sometimes a female layperson takes his place.

    The Altar, Tabernacle, and Ambo are draped with rainbow sashes. In the words of the person who did the draping, “our parish needs to be more tolerant.” Not that anyone has ever expressed intolerance (nor even discussed homosexuality for that matter), but she’s certain that in our hearts we are intolerant.

    This person is one of two parishioners who cannot let it go that I choose to kneel after Mass for a very short prayer of thanks. Never once have I ever said a word to anyone, but they constantly tell me that my kneeling and praying is “wrong, wrong, wrong!”

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