Death By Asteroid

The talk now is about mining the asteroid belt, with the mineral value of even a small asteroid calculated in the billions of dollars. The plan is to capture an asteroid, move it out of its orbit, and steer it toward Earth, where it will somehow be safely landed or maybe mined in low Earth orbit. If all goes well, if everything goes perfectly, there will be no danger. But nothing is ever perfect. Accidents will always happen. Might a runaway asteroid of the proper mass and velocity do to us what one of them did to the dinosaurs and ninety-five percent of all life on Earth some sixty-five million years ago?

A dinosaur stood idly in the rain
As in the distance rose a brilliant flare
At breathless speed it bore down on the plain
Passed overhead as forests were stripped bare
The tremor as it struck caused fluid rock
To burst to fire as the pluming dust
Began its circling, turning on the clock
That killed most of the life on this world’s crust
We know that accidents will surely come
The early trains and the steamboats come to mind
A death or two is a small price to some
But asteroids can sometimes be unkind
The dinosaurs knew not that they would die
But we would know beforehand what’s in store
As telescopes tracked death across the sky
And most of life on Earth will be no more

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