In the last few days planet earth had a close encounter with asteroid 2012DA14. The asteroid was so close that it was actually inside the orbit of some of the satellites swinging around our planet. Pretty close, but all the experts seemed pretty relaxed about it all. I guess there's not a whole lot anyone could do Bruce Willis included, if it was likely to hit us and there was no need to spread any more panic and uncertainty than was neccessary. The twittersphere and other social media was doing a good job of that already.
Unfortunately and coincidentally a meteor shower created widespread damage and panic in central Russia at more or less the same time. While there appears to have been widespread damage, luckily there have been few injuries and no fatalities. I say unfortunately because of course we all draw the dots-the two events must be connected. Apparently not. The meteor shower and asteroid approached us from different directions.
Apart from a reminder about just how vulnerable life as we know it is on this planet in terms of how would we, or even could we, divert a large life threatening asteroid aimed straight at us I did wonder if there is an alternative view to this story.
Imagine the headlines beamed home from a space craft piggybacking on the asteroid as it cruises by on its journey of exploration.
We are not alone! And then; Life discovered in galactic backwater! Primitive civilisation discovered by pioneering space mission. Research probes dropped over major landmass.
Backup contact mission already planned. Potential resource windfall, riches await for intrepid exploreres. Boost to economy predicted.
All attempts at communication failed.
Initial reports suggest a low level of technology, no evidence of space travel beyond their own system. The people of this world pose no threat to us in the foreseeable future
If they are out there I wonder what they think of us for surely we aren't really alone in the universe?
And no Mr Zhirinovsky it wasn't the Americans testing a new weapon.