2036: Don’t Make Beach Reservations

I remember reading about this in 2005 because at one point, the space nerds that year were quite excited about a possible meteor impact with Earth in 2029. Then new images brought a sigh of relief. Cancel that emergency, but…

In 2013, they said, another window would open to determine the likelihood that this same downtown-Floyd sized chunk of rock would threaten us again in 2036.

Well, today is that day, by the end of which you can decide whether or not to squirrel away a half million dollars for Junior’s college education. Or not. And if you can wait until 2020, the Russians are planning to land a tracking beacon on the space boulder, so you can refine your charitable donations accordingly, or give up the misguided notion of deferred gratification. Eat dessert first!

Ominously, the meteor has been named Apophis. This serpentine character has a long and shady past. He/she is basically the enemy of light and order, according to the ancient Egyptians. And should it impact the planet, both light and order would take it on the chin–to the tune of 100k Hiroshimas.

I just thought you should know. Me, I plan to be watching this from a safe distance that year.

Bonus Blathering: Did you know that there is a meteor crater (almost five miles across and mostly hidden under vegetation) near Wetumpka, Alabama? (Did you even know there was a Wetumpka, AL?)

Time frame seems to be late Cretaceous, about 85 million years ago. This would have been a foreshadowing of the “Big One” at 65mya, that shows up at the “Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary” beyond which most dinosaurs bowed out, yeilding to hairier sorts to give world dominion a try. Roaches and rodents will be next up. I wish them well.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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