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The Tunguska Event
Prophecy - Signs
Thursday, April 12, 2012
J.L. Robb

There are some things that go bump in the night, and then there are those things that go BOOM in the night.  The Tunguska Event was one of the latter.

Goddard Space Flight Center, Maryland, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory outside Las Angeles, keep a constant watch out for any NEOs headed our way.  Near-Earth Objects are flying around all over the place in space, most are too small to detect; and if they come our way, they usually burn up in the atmosphere.  The key word here is usually.

I love the Book of Revelation, also known as the Revelation of Jesus Christ; Book of the Revelation of St. John the Divine; the Apocalypse of John or just Revelation.  I’ve loved it since I was a kid, it always seemed so science fictiony; and I was a science fiction junkie as a young teen.  By the late teens, I had advanced to girls, which I have to admit was more fun than science fiction.

Revelation has all this stuff happening, things flying around in the air, mountains crashing into water, torches falling from the sky and into the seas, stars disappearing, the Sun turns black (which I guess means it will disappear too, or something really big moves in front of it) and the Moon turns red.  An Earthquake happens, described as the worst there has ever been, or ever will be; so big in fact that mountains collapse to the ground.

Wow!  Why does Hollywood think they can do better than this story?

When I was in high school, I wanted to be an astronomer.  In October, 1957, Sputnik was launched, the first man-made satellite in history; and a man down the street had an eight-inch, reflector telescope.  You could see the rings of Saturn and four of her moons, you could see Jupiter and a few moons; and then there were those huge craters on the Moon.  I always worried a little about all those craters.  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that a lot of asteroids, comets, something had their ways with our Moon.  And the Moon just isn’t that far from Earth.  I wondered how many craters might be on Earth, covered by vegetation or the sea.  I was hooked.

Near-Earth Objects (NEO), unlike Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), refers to any object in our solar system that comes within 120 million miles of Earth.  The actual measurement is 1.3 AU and refers to this: An AU (astronomical Unit) is equal to the distance between Earth and the Sun, about 93 million miles; so 1.3 AU equates to approximately 120 million miles.  That sounds like a long ways away, and it is.  It’s the NEO that comes within one LD that we have to worry about.

An LD stands for Lunar Distance, and is the distance between Earth and the Moon, approximately 240,000 miles.  So an asteroid that passes within 1 LD is about 240,000 miles away.  That’s much closer and a significant worry.  Science is working on technology to divert these objects, but the availability of such technology is well into the future.  Now if Bruce Willis was younger, we could possibly fly him to one of these NEOs and let him attach a rocket engine, zooming away in the night sky.

Asteroids that come between the Earth and Moon happen much more often than one might think.  Spaceweather.com has a daily listing of NEOs, and many are recent discoveries.  Last fall, 2011, we were almost hit by a “bus sized” asteroid as it flew by at 7,600 miles above planet Earth, discovered just four days earlier.  Bus Sized AstroidOn Feb. 4, 2011, Asteroid 2011 CQ1 blew by Earth at a distance of only 3,400 miles, a record.  It was discovered by NASA only 14 hours before the rock approached Earth.  Though small at four feet in diameter, the size of a couple of beach balls, scientists said it posed no threat because it would break apart in the atmosphere; which brings me back to the Tunguska Event.

"The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea.  A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed." Revelation 8: 8-9 NIV

Just after 7:00 AM on June 30, 1908, people who lived in central Siberia saw a bright, bluish light falling from the sky, a light described by many as “too bright to look at.”  That was followed a few minutes later by a huge, thunderous explosion, followed by even more during the next moments.  A man sitting on the porch of a trading post was suddenly blown off the porch, followed by a wind so hot he thought his clothes were on fire.  The man was 40 miles from ground zero.

The 1908 Tunguska Event was barely reported at the time because the population was so sparse.  A Russian expedition finally made it to the site in 1927, looking for the crater that had to be.  It wasn’t.

It was finally determined many years later that an asteroid approximately 100 feet in diameter exploded several thousand feet above Lake Baikal, the world’s oldest lake.  Air expeditions over the 1908 explosion showed an estimated 80 million trees lying flat on the ground in a large circle around ground zero.  Trees directly under the blast were standing, but all the limbs and bark were stripped from the trees.  Windows were blown out a hundred miles from the blast.  Eight thousand square miles were totally destroyed.

If a similar event were to happen today over a major metropolis, the metropolis would cease to exist, along with all the people, plants and animals.  The estimated size of the explosion is 10-20 megatons.  That would be 20 million tons of TNT, close to 200 times stronger than the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

"This is the plague with which the LORD will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths." Zechariah 14:12 NIV

As I read Zechariah, I tried to logically reason, what could possibly cause flesh, eyes and tongues to dissolve before someone could even hit the ground?  A 20 megaton explosion could certainly do that.

August 6, 1945, a small (by today’s standards) nuclear weapon named Little Boy was dropped above the Japanese city of Hiroshima.  Most people and animals within a half mile of ground zero evaporated, the blast so great that shadows were burned onto the sides of buildings.

"Kyoto never met Grandpa Hitoshi; because the Major General was evaporated into nothingness when Little Boy, 8,900 pounds of pure hell and the world’s first atomic weapon used in war, was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.  The massive 15-kiloton bomb had an explosive force of 30,000,000 pounds of TNT.  Thirty million pounds of dynamite imposes unbelievable damage, not just from the blast, but from the heat and radiation that follow.

Major General Hitoshi Kushito exited the Army Headquarters in Hiroshima at 8:14 A.M. that sunny morning in 1945 and headed down the dark, brick walking path that would lead him to his chauffeur-driven sedan, the chauffeur leaning against the front, left fender, having a smoke.  Looking up at the sound in the sky above, Hitoshi could barely see the airplane, it was at such an altitude.  He saw enough to recognize the B-29 Superfortress, but he could not recognize the name that adorned the giant plane.  If he had seen the Enola Gay namesake painted on the plane, it would not have mattered."  THE END The Book: Part One, Page 171

As a kid reading Revelation, I was sure John must be writing about nuclear warfare.  Over the years, as I contemplated the events described in the last book of the Bible, I determined that God doesn’t need our nuclear weapons to cause Zechariah 14:12.  We need to look no further than the Tunguska Event.

As President Obama is depleting the NASA budget, let’s hope he leaves enough for JPL, Goddard Space Flight Center and other watchmen of the night to continue searching and monitoring these Near-Earth Objects.  It would be nice to know if something’s headed our way, even if there is nothing we can do about it.

In the meantime, get a helmet!

About J.L. Robb

Last week: The Twelfth Imam and World War III

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