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Now that NASA may have a solution to the problem, it’s interesting to see how, some 200 years ago, people viewed the possibility of a comet or asteroid crashing into the earth. The quote below comes from Tales of Terror from Blackwood’s Magazine from a story by Samuel Warren entitled “The Thunder-Struck.”

“Great God, Dr ——!” said he, laying his hand suddenly on my arm, his great black eyes gleaming with mysterious awe—“Think, only think! What if, at the moment we are talking together, a comet, whose track the peering eye of science has never traced—whose very existence is known to none but God, is winging its fiery way towards our earth, swift as the lightning, and with force inevitable! Is it at this instant dashing to fragments some mighty orb that obstructed its progress, and then passing on towards us, disturbing system after system in its way?—How—when will the frightful crash be felt? Is its heat now blighting our atmosphere?—Will combustion first commence, or shall we be at once split asunder into innumerable fragments, and sent drifting through infinite space?—Whither—whither shall we fly! what must become of our species?—Is the Scriptural JUDGMENT then coming? Oh, Doctor, what if all these things are really at hand?