As a boy my day was incomplete if I didn’t spend at least a few hours in the dark recesses of the public library, hunting through stacks of Science Fiction - novels and shorts — for something I had yet to read. Heinlein, Asimov, Bradbury — so many more, the list goes on. Now that they tell us our favorite planets are gas, there’s not much to look forward to. But still, there is real science!
So, on that fateful summer morning in the year 2002, when those distracting little words that march across the bottom of ones TV screen during newscasts strolled similarly across mine — the heralds of future doom — I could hardly fail to notice; they made mention of a collision-course asteroid, coming in the years ahead! Young and romantic, in a lab-coat kind of a way, I jotted down the date for the world’s end, and created a poster for my bedroom door: “The World Will End on Friday, the 13th of April, in 2029!” I kept an eye on the TV screen, but oddly, the asteroid report vanished; there was not another word. Only the poster remained.
The coming devastation remained unreported until a televised 20/20 Special Presentation called "Final Days" aired in 2006, four years after the aforementioned blip. The program many will recall dealt with several ways in which the world might suddenly end. Gamma Ray Bursts, giant evil robots, and yes, the asteroid which had now been deemed “Apophis”, which translates from the Greek as "the Uncreator”, a “serpent that dwells in eternal darkness". Apophis — formerly known as 2002NY40 — the broadcasters said, was a "near miss" on August 17th and 18th of 2006. They went on to say the space wanderer is again due in 2029 (Friday, April 13), and will pass much closer than the August 2006 pass, “within the orbits of our communication satellites”. That same asteroid will again pass, even closer, on April 13, 2036. Now excuse me, but "within the orbits of our communication satellites" does indeed give me pause!