EUROPE - Are Asteroids Humanity’s Greatest Challenge?

Arno Froese

“Sooner or later we will get... a minor or major impact,” Rolf Densing, who heads the European Space Operations Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, told AFP ahead of International Asteroid Day.

It may not happen in our lifetime, he said, but “the risk that Earth will get hit in a devastating event one day is very high.”

For now, there is little we can do.

And yet, the first-ever mission to crash a probe into a small space rock to alter its trajectory suffered a major setback when European ministers declined in December to fund part of the project.

“We are not ready to defend ourselves” against an Earth-bound object, said Densing. “We have no active planetary defense measures.”

Hitherto relegated to the realms of science fiction, tactics could include nuking an incoming asteroid, using lasers to vaporize it, sending a space “tractor” to drag it off course, or bumping it into a new direction.

A much bigger concern is the whereabouts of millions of asteroids in the 15- to 140-meter (49- to 460-feet) range.

One such object, a 40-meter space rock, caused the largest impact in recent history when it exploded over Tunguska, Siberia, on June 30, 1908—the date on which Asteroid Day is marked.

The blast flattened some 80 million trees over 2,000 sparsely-populated square kilometers (772 square miles)—an area bigger than greater London.

“Imagine that this type of asteroid would fall in a very populated area like... Paris or Germany, I mean this is something that would be really, really a catastrophe,” said Nicolas Bobrinsky, program manager of the European Space Agency’s Space Situational Awareness project, which surveys asteroids.

The United Nations declared June 30 International Asteroid Day to raise public awareness about what event organizers describe as “humanity’s greatest challenge.”, 28 June 2017

Arno's commentary

Mankind will continue to search the heavens and the universe thinking that they can conquer all things. Among the 84 questions God asked Job, He speaks of the universe: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (Job 38:31-33).

Is the earth in danger, or, a better question: what does the Bible say? “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” (2 Peter 3:12). That will happen; the only defense we need is faith in the Creator of the planets, asteroids, and stars. And, believing in His accomplished salvation, we can rejoice, as is written in the next verse: “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (verse 13).

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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