Bad Astronomy

Why do killer asteroids fascinate us?

Artist drawing of an asteroid entering Earth’s atmosphere
Why are we so hung up on killer rocks from space? I can think of lots of answers to that question: we’re fascinated by disaster in general, asteroid impacts are very dramatic and scary, they’re associated with dinosaurs (which are also cool), and so on.

With the near passage of the tiny asteroid 2009 DD45 the other week, the New York Times asked several scientists and science writers what they thought about this question. The answers, in the form of pretty interesting essays, are now online. The people they asked include Neil deGrasse Tyson, Don Yeomans, Seth Shostak, and Carolyn Collins Petersen… and if you follow me on Twitter, you may know C2P. At the very least you should be reading her blog, The Spacewriter’s Ramblings.