by Stephen Bryen
It is called 1950 DA because it was first seen in February, 1950 and then it disappeared. It was not seen again until December 31st, 2000, and it was also picked up on radar in March, 2001. Scientists believe that 1950 DA, which is a 1.1 kilometer-wide asteroid, spinning through space, will come close to or in fact crash into the earth on March 16th, 2880 –that is, 867 years from now.
What does this mean?
Last February a meteorite traveling at over 33,000 miles per hour crashed into Russia’s Ural region. The result was an explosion equal to about 300 kilotons. It created a huge fireball, damaged some 3,000 buildings, and caused many injuries. The meteorite weighed around 10 tons and it probably broke up as it entered the atmosphere, resulting in three ground hits. Compared to 1950 DA, the Ural’s meteorite was tiny.
In 1908 at Tunguska there was an airburst of a small asteroid or comet with a size between 200 to 630 feet. Some estimates put the blast as high as 300 megatons of TNT, about the same size as the MX nuclear warhead. While the blast happened largely in a wilderness area, it is estimated it destroyed some 80 million trees. Scientists are still studying the Tunguska event –but it is all but certain it was a near-earth collision either by an asteroid or comet.
There is a school of scientific opinion that the Tunguska comet or asteroid will return. Some experts think its return can occur as soon as 2045, or in only 32 years.
These recent events, and events projected to happen in the future based on current-day science, indicate that there are powerful forces at work which we barely understand.
In an earlier essay, we commented on the work of Immanuel Velikovsky. His most famous book, World’s in Collision was published in 1950, around the same time that 1950 DA was observed.
The Velikovsky thesis is that human history was deeply affected by planetary events which occurred in modern history, not billions of years ago. Velikovsky looks at what happened when, based on the evidence he gathered, a comet passed near the earth causing a massive upheaval, a change in the earth’s orbit and its polarity, and nearly brought an end of history.
Velikovsky’s methodology is mostly based on the analysis of historical records of different cultures, but with the strongest emphasis on Middle Eastern, Egyptian and ancient Greek sources including Biblical sources. Descriptions of the upheaval, images of the heavens recorded by ancient astronomers, and data from other cultures that are parallel to the major sources, create a powerful record. And the historical record is reinforced by strong evidence that such events can again repeat themselves in future, should 1950 DA have a near encounter with the earth.
So why is it that most scientists and most historians either treat Velikovsky’s work with contempt, or simply reject his thesis?
Velikovsky, who lived in the eye of the storm he either created or exposed, tried to understand the nature of the visceral reaction against his work. He thought about it in psychoanalytical terms and saw it as a form of mankind’s denial or the great suffering and pain caused by past events, pain that had to be sublimated.
Maybe. But a significant part of the story is told in the Bible in the events leading to and resulting in the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt and of events that follow. And the Exodus is an event that is celebrated in the Jewish religion and is a core part of the Christian and Muslim traditions. It is the idea of the rebirth of mankind.
Modern science, and secular history, probably has a blindness, a profound one, in grasping that nature may be more complex and rich in the sense of possibility than merely what can be measured and recorded.
As we learn more about the future that is yet to unfold, we need to see both the dangers and the possibilities.