Space is terrifying. I know this might not be the most original thought in the world, but it's one I that leaves me staring at the ceiling many sleepless nights. Now, I know that I'm probably not going to end up frolicking around space any time soon, but that doesn't mean I am safe from space's lurking danger. And neither are you. Because asteroids and comets are very real things with the capability of destroying all life on this planet in the blink of an eye. Just ask the dinosaurs.
It's comforting to think of space as one big empty room with some stars, planets and moons thrown in, but all of them at such extreme distances away from Earth that we'll never encounter them. Sure, an alien or two may find their way to our planet to visit, but chances are that we aren't going to have to do epic battle against them any time soon. And even if that were to happen, we might have a chance at survival. But if a 15 mile wide meteor feels like checking out the scenic beaches of Miami? We're completely fucked.
I'm not trying to terrify you here, but there are more than few comets and asteroids out there biding their time before smashing into Earth and ending life as we know it. Scientists have discovered roughly 5,000 comets and millions of asteroids in the universe. Chances are that there are many, many more that haven't been discovered.
Comets are the less dangerous of the two as they are less likely to collide with the Earth and they are often constructed of ice (as opposed to rock), meaning they would be less destructive. Somewhat ironically, it was comets that people most feared in ancient days, as many considered the appearance of a comet in the sky is a harbinger of bad fortune.
Asteroids, on the other hand, don't have the fancy tail so you don't really see them coming. And if a big one is headed this way there really isn't anything we can do about it. I guess we could send up a team of the world's most talented deep core drillers, but then we'd have to endure a bunch of Aerosmith songs, and death would honestly be a better choice.
Perhaps it is that ability to deliver a death blow to our entire planet that makes comets and asteroids so fascinating to us puny humans. So check out these tattoos before we get blown to smithereens.