On June 17, 2002, astronomers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology discovered that a small asteroid had flown past the earth just 120,000 kilometers away. This shard of rock measured between 50 and 120 meters in diameter and was traveling at some 38,000 kilometers per hour. If it had actually collided with our planet, the disaster would have been simply devastating.
The impact of an asteroid on the surface of the earth is possibly the greatest threat faced by this planet’s inhabitants. It is also the most improbable. The violent transformations of the very ground we trod form an important part of the earth’s creative dynamic – a dynamic that long ago created the conditions for life to emerge, a dynamic that allowed man to appear, a dynamic that is certain to continue its unalterable course.