Our Solar System’s Violent Past
By James Donahue
NASA’s exploratory machines now probing Mars has turned up evidence supporting a theory that the
red planet was once smacked by a very large object; possibly another planet.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor have found a large 5,300-mile wide crater in
the northern hemisphere. This massive scar is elliptical in shape and appears surrounded by a second, outer ring
– all the signs of a large and ancient impact basin.
NASA researchers have long entertained a theory that a catastrophic collision would explain why
Mars has different kinds of terrain in its northern and southern hemispheres, and the surface is somewhat out of balance.
The theory, according to an article in New Scientist, is that the crust of Mars was blown away
when struck by an object an estimated 1,200 miles in diameter, which makes it larger than Pluto. Other evidence to support
this theory is that cuts in the terrain apparently made by water indicate that the flow tended to move from south to north.
The exact shape of the crater, known as the Borealis basin, was not confirmed until NASA began photographing
and mapping the terrain. The shape of the basin was concealed by large volcanoes that formed along part of the basin rim,
creating a region of high and rough terrain.
The volcanic activity is believed to have been the result of the collision as well. It created a thinner
The point to this somewhat startling data is that nothing in our universe is stationary, everything
is in motion and change, and planets and large asteroids do collide with each other. Even galaxies appear to be moving on
Theories exist that Earth may also have been affected by similar collisions, with evidence found in
various craters found in somewhat secluded places, including the bottom of the seas. Some believe the moon was trapped in
its orbit after either colliding or brushing very close with the Earth.
We know that collisions with comets and other objects from outside of our solar system can and do happen,
sometimes unexpectedly. Astronomers captured dynamic film when Comet Shoemaker-Levy broke up into pieces that crashed into
the gas giant Jupiter during several days in July, 1994. And scientists with NASA’s Cassini mission said they found
evidence that some large body recently collided with and disrupted Saturn’s innermost ring.
All of this has created a growing concern among people on Earth, many of whom believe religious prophecy
that we may be living in the “last days.” They are expecting some catastrophic event that will destroy life as
we know it. This, in turn, has propagated various books and theories.
The late Immanuel Velikovsky’s book, Worlds In Collision,
proposed that the planet Venus was yet another wild space body that gazed the Earth several times in close fly-bys that caused
much havoc before settling into its current orbit.
Then there is Zecharia Sitchin, whose books and lectures suggest the existence of a twelfth planet in
our solar system that orbits the Sun every 3,600 years. The Sitchin story appears to have propagated a “prophecy”
by remote viewer Ed Dames concerning a “Planet X” that Dames warns will make a pass so close to Earth that it
will cause a polar shift, major earthquakes, volcanic activity, and possibly threaten extinction of most life.
While collisions of space bodies have, indeed, happened, they are so rare that their occurrence can
be separated by billions of years. Our human life spans are so short that the odds of anything like that happening to Earth
during our lifetime, or the lifetime of our children and grandchildren, are so remote, they are not worth concern.
For those inclined to worry, you might be glad to know that there are astronomers out there who spend
hours looking for free-flying asteroids and comets that might be on a collision course with Earth. If they ever find one,
you can bet we will know about it months, if not years in advance. And our military appears to have the technology to fire
a missile with enough accuracy to strike an incoming object like that long before it hits the planet.