Forget the “fiscal cliff.” And global warming. Heck, forget about what to get your wife for Christmas.
It’s time to start worrying about Toutatis.
Asteroid 4179, a.k.a. Toutatis, is heading our way, again.
OK, sure, the mountain-size space rock won’t hit us this time -- scientists say that sometime Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, it will come within 18 lunar distances of Earth. (For all those who don’t work at JPL and/or aren’t named Carl Sagan, that’s 18 times the distance between Earth and the moon, or 4.3 million miles.)
And that’s not even the closest it’s come; in 2004, for example, the asteroid, which passes by Earth about every four years, came within about four lunar distances.
So why am I in a panic?
Because, buried deep in my colleague Deborah Netburn’s article Tuesday is this little nugget:
“Toutatis is not expected to collide with Earth for at least 600 more years.”
Excuse me? Republicans are frantic about the debt and how our children and grandchildren will have to eat gruel their entire lives; Democrats fret about climate change and how we’re all going to be boiled alive in a couple of hundred years. And now I find out that in 2612 or thereabouts, the Mayans will finally be right?