Collision of Asteroids: Bane or Boon

Space is full of surprises. It may seem blank and vast, but many secrets are hidden beneath those layers. For years, I have been gazing at sky, hypnotized by the twinkling stars, shooting metorites, seldom visible planets like Jupiter and Saturn and totally mesmerized by the punctuality of Sun and Moon

Often, a thought reared its head as to what would happen if there was no Sun or Moon. What if Earth was alone in the entire Universe. Or are we actually the only living specimens in the whole wide Space.

I had tried to read more about these little known facts. And as I continued to search and research about it, many mysteries unfolded in front of my eyes. These days I am watching a documentary series How the Universe Works and it has added many more questions and answers to my kitty.

As of now, everyone is of the view that Earth is the only habitable planet in the space explored till now. However, it is certainly not alone in its making. For starter, there are a number of Galaxies and Solar Systems, stretched across the Universe.

Each solar system is born with a Central Star like our Sun. The dust whirls around the Star due to its heat and often collides with each other. Due to high temperature and centrifugal forces, the particles join together to form rocks, which gained mass as more and more rocks fused together to form planets.

In our nascent Solar System, these rocky figures played an important part and eventually formed Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. However, in the space beyond these inner planets, the giant gaseous Jupiter played havoc by unleashing huge gravity. As a result all the remaining dust and rocks were left to encircle in a limited space between Mars and Jupiter called Asteroid Belt.

In a way, asteroids can be called leftovers of our Solar system or even may be termed as planets that could not be. However, as they date back to the earliest period, their composition can provide rich clues about current planets and our understanding of the Universe.

There is a huge Asteroid in the famous Ring, called Ceres, it is one of the earliest asteroid to be discovered and is often referred to as a minor planet or planetoid. The interesting fact is that asteroids are airless worlds, covered with dust. They keep moving in the space or rather flowing and often get a push from the gravity of nearest planet and proceed on a downward, dangerous journey towards the Sun.

The Odyssey of an asteroid is dangerous not only for itself but for the nearby planets as well. As their collision can create huge craters, send shock waves and wipe out entire civilizations or life in toto. It is believed that Dinosaurs were made extinct by one such asteroid mishap. Though it were asteroids only that had initially brought the water and some of the nutrients/raw material for creation of life to Earth.

So, we can say that Asteroids are both bane and boon, or rather pristine lab, for experiments, carried out on living and nonliving planets.

Though, we are certainly smarter than Dinosaurs and have installed huge Telescope and Radar to pre judge any Asteroid journeying towards earth and have also developed certain mechanism to divert its path and prevent the collision.

Strangely, the craters we see on moon were most certainly made by asteroids and yet Asteroids have every reason to be a planet themselves. Their world is rich with minerals and Americans are thinking about setting up Space projects, to mine these Asteroids.

Whether it would be feasible or not, only time will tell. But one thing is certain, every time now I see a shooting star, I feel a bit touched by the possibility of that meteor being a full fledged planet itself. A potential story gone wrong somewhere, at some point of time and space. Till then the Odyssey continues and debate of Asteroids being beneficial harbinger of life or cruel eradicators will continue….

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