Tag Archives: astronomy

Why A Meteorite, You Ask?

Wikipedia (not ALWAYS the most reliable source – but definitely okay in this instance) defines a meteorite as:

A meteorite is a natural object originating in outer space that survives impact with the Earth’s surface. A meteorite’s size can range from small to extremely large. Most meteorites derive from small astronomical objects called meteoroids, but they are also sometimes produced by impacts of asteroids. When a meteoroid enters the atmosphere, ram pressure (not friction) causes the body to heat up and emit light, thus forming a fireball, also known as a meteor or shooting/falling star. The term bolide refers to either an extraterrestrial body that collides with the Earth, or to an exceptionally bright, fireball-like meteor regardless of whether it ultimately impacts the surface.

I once saw a fallen meteorite at the Griffith Park Observatory on a field trip. It was 1982. I was immediately obsessed. [Consequently, I also observed a Tesla coil on the same trip, and while entranced, strangely enough I did not become immediately CERTAIN I would die by Tesla Coil.]

There is something so random, so amazingly deadly and yet, surprisingly statistically impossible about death by meteorite. It was PERFECT. A random, statistically insignificant and yet grimly repugnant way to die.

Historically, there have been few reported incidents of meteorites hitting anyone or anything – well few if you consider the length of time that man has been recording things falling from the sky versus the fact that meteorites actually fall with virtually equal probability everywhere on Earth – relatively few reports – and as far as I can tell, literally no one has actually DIED from a meteorite.

There are several reported instances of falling meteorites having killed both people and livestock, but a few of these appear more credible than others. The most infamous reported fatality from a meteorite impact is that of an Egyptian dog that was killed in 1911, although this report is highly disputed. This particular meteorite fall was identified in the 1980s as Martian in origin. However, there is substantial evidence that the meteorite known as Valera hit and killed a cow upon impact, nearly dividing the animal in two, and similar unsubstantiated reports of a horse being struck and killed by a stone of the New Concord fall also abound. Throughout history, many first and second-hand reports of meteorites falling on and killing both humans and other animals abound, but none have been well documented.

Don’t worry – I haven’t let the FACTS stop me from being obsessed with the idea. In fact, I calculated the exact angle that a meteorite would have to be falling at in order to kill me in bed – and placed our furniture accordingly. I used to switch sides of the bed with JW just to keep the probability numbers in my favor. I believe the odds of being killed are somewhere around 1/700,000. Wow, that just doesn’t seem low enough for me.

I mean, I’ve survived several car crashes, being thrown from a moving car (there WILL be a post about this), nine years of torture, being stabbed, the Cerritos Air Disaster (I was there, on a cul-de-sac at a BBQ), two abusive marriages, eight surgeries, four miscarriages and six live births.

Seriously, what IS going to kill me?

I plan to live a LONG, LONG life, if only to irritate my children (especially Jr. Asparagus). My grandmothers lived to 95 and 104 respectively, so I’ve got that going for me – plus – I live a relatively low-risk life (except my penchant for  risking life and limb to hang from a circus hoop for photo shoots while suffering from a herniated disk in my lower back) and I am in amazingly good health overall.

Death Defying

And we all have to die of something, right? I fully expect to die by meteorite.

P.S. I’ve left instructions for JW (just in case) on how to stage it to look like I’ve been killed by a meteorite in the event that I kick off from something entirely unrelated. 😉

P.P.S – I have also planned for the eventuality of the Zombie Apocalypse. Just in case.

Family Portrait

Yes, this was our 2010 Christmas Card. You're welcome.

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