“We can’t control everything…”

Just a few days ago, many of us marked the 100th anniversary of the ‘Tunguska event’, an exploding comet or asteroid which caused massive destruction in Siberia.

In a recent article on SpaceRef.com, there now appears to be some additional proof to the theory that another asteroid hit (or exploded just above) the earth (in Canada) 12,900 years ago and may have caused, among other things, the extinction of an early human habitation of North America, the Clovis civilization.

Ken Tankersly, the scientist who lead the research team (and who, ironically enough, had started this research to disprove this theory) was quoted as saying; “The ultimate importance of this kind of work is showing that we can’t control everything,” he says. “Our planet has been hit by asteroids many times throughout its history, and when that happens, it does produce climate change.”

Yeah, and population extinctions, too.  But cosmic collisions of this sort are something we CAN control, if only we show the forward-looking viewpoint necessary to adequately fund a) a ‘SpaceWatch’ (an elegant term coined by, I believe, the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke) to find these cosmic killers and b) a Space Elevator with which to be able to rapidly launch whatever we may need to divert/destroy them.

This is an excellent article and also mentions a number of upcoming TV shows about asteroids which appear worth watching.

Update – another article on SpaceRef.com reports on the winners of the “Move an Asteroid” 2008 competition.