I remember when I was in college studying philosophy everyone wanted to share some kind of life wisdom with me, especially my religiously affiliated relatives. One Christmas my Uncle told me he most certainly believed in God because a priest once told him to “just look at the heavens. The Planets orbit the sun in perfect patterns as to not bump into each other. God created this perfect order to the Universe where everything has it’s place.” I don’t really weigh in much on the God issue, it’s silly to debate the existence of a being named God who creates stuff when it’s much more interesting to look at the stuff, however I knew this view of a universe where everything was peacefully avoiding each other while orbiting happy little orbits around a gentle yellow sun was just completely wrong. Maybe this is the case in a universe parallel to our own but definitely not in ours. All you have to do is look at our neighboring planets and moons to see that stuff is crashing into other stuff constantly. In 1994 we watched the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slam into Jupiter. (Go on Youtube and look at the videos if you have not. You’ll thank me)
Even here on Earth we see evidence of cosmic collisions. The Gulf of Mexico is a giant crater that scientists believe wiped out the Dinosaurs.
Which brings me to the most recent collision Spanish astronomer Professor Jose Maria Madiedo, just observed on the Moon. A medium sized asteroid about the size of a refrigerator slammed into the lunar surface causing an explosion equal to about 15 tons of TNT. Professor Madiedo, noticed the impact on September 11th of last year. Not only is this a very rare event but it is the largest of its kind, in fact three times larger than the any previous impact we have observed. Professor Meliedo and his team estimate that asteroids of this size may strike the Earth about 10 times more frequently than was initially thought. But don’t freak out, the Earth has an atmosphere much thicker than the Moon’s so objects of this size burn up before ever reaching the surface. The Chelyabinsk meteor which streaked across the Russian sky last February was much much bigger than a fridge, so much bigger that it released 20–30 times more energy than was released from the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima. (Chelyabinsk meteor footage on Youtube.) It would take a meteor much larger than that to cause another mass extinction on the Earth. Kinda like the one in the movie Armageddon when Billy Bob Thorton says “It’s the Size of Texas”.