Letter: Intergalactic news

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The Independent Culture

Intergalactic news

Sir: Frank Zoltowski, an Australian amateur astronomer, has discovered an asteroid - AN10 - which could pass as close as 39,000 kilometres from Earth's centre in the year 2027.

This is a trifle close for comfort; the odds against a direct hit are given as 10 million to one, but could well change. Since the object is one kilometre across, impact could cause global climatic darkening and cooling in the manner of a nuclear winter after delivering several tens of gigatons TNT equivalent of energy to our planet - so we will probably hear a lot more about AN10 before 2027.

Perhaps even some constructive astronautical proposals for the dispersal and survival of our precarious civilisation might be timidly whispered by our often triviality-obsessed opinion formers. It is dangerous to keep all your eggs in one basket - even a planet-sized one.