In the past, meteorites have impacted Earth – and there are more objects out there headed our way. Meteorites are pieces of stone or metal that fall to Earth from outer space. Before you panic about space rocks falling on your head, there is some good news: As we begin to conquer space, we will be able to stop them before they hit us.
Rocks from space rarely hit the earth, and when they do, they are usually not large. Most of the time, they strike in remote locations where no one lives. The last big strike happened in Russia in 2013 when a meteorite the size of a large house exploded only 18.5 miles above the ground. No one was killed, but about 1,000 people were hurt.
That is small compared to an impact that scientists recently discovered. A mile-wide rock hit the ice in Greenland around 13,000 years ago and created a vast crater. At the time sea levels rose quickly. Some scientists think the meteor melted so much ice that the ocean rose by tens of feet.
We don’t know when, but in the future another gigantic rock will hit the earth – unless we stop it. The good news is, we probably can. In 2018, SpaceX became the first private company to launch a rocket into deep space. That’s just the beginning of a new era in space travel where humans may live on the moon, Mars, and beyond.
In December 2019, President Donald Trump created a new branch of the military: The United States Space Force. Its mission is to defend America from threats in space. What could be a better mission than to protect us all from meteorite strikes?