At the request of the CO, my arrival on board the USS Stargazer was 2.7 days in advance of Orders. The incumbent First Officer, a rather fusik Human appeared delighted to be relieved of his post earlier than he anticipated and has resumed his preferred duties as Ships Navigator.
The CO’s briefing was succinct. I fact I particularly found pleasing. I have noted a disturbing tendency of Senior Officers to wehk interminably .
“We were departing the Andorian home world immediately en route for Terra to study the effects of the Comet Swift-Tuttle.”
Figure 1The comet that gives rise to the Perseid meteor shower, 109P/Swift-Tuttle
As I felt the slight movement that signified we were underway, I had 10.23 minutes to research the anomaly before I was expected on the Bridge.
My new quarters provide the basics, although I have been told that junior officers do not fare quite so well. The workstation, linked to the main Science station on the Bridge, quickly provided the basic facts:
- Discovered independently byLewis Swift on July 16, 1862 and by Horace Parnell Tuttle on July 19, 1862.
- Comet Swift-Tuttle is 26,000 meters in diameter.
- It is 260% the width of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, and it moves at four times the speed that the dinosaur-killer moved at whenever it crosses Earth’s orbit
- If Swift-Tuttle were to strike Earth, it would release more than one billion MegaTonsof energy: the energy equivalent of 20,000,000 hydrogen bombs exploding all at once.
- Each orbit contains a 0.000002% probability of the comet hitting Earth
- 109P/Swift-Tuttle makes a complete orbit around the Sun every 133 years,
- Its nearest point to Terra is 8 million km and it moves further from the Sun than Pluto does at its most distant.
- It last entered the inner Solar System in December of 1992, 2126 and is not expected again until 3060.
- Its next 2,000+ years of orbits have been projected, and the Earth is 100% safe until at least 4479, when it will come quite close to Earth once again.
- There is a 99.9999% probability of a miss.
Insert bit about the Peidles…
The comet has probably circled the sun dozens of times and has left a “river of rubble” in its wake. The Earth’s orbit passes by this rubble river every year in mid-August, creating the annual display of shooting stars.
It would appear that my new assignment as Science Officer is going to be quite, quite fascinating.
I believe the Universal Translator may be malfunctioning.
The meteors are the dross of the Swift-Tuttle comet, which was discovered in July 1862 and reappeared in the fall of 1992. The comet has probably circled the sun dozens of times and has left a “river of rubble” in its wake. The Earth’s orbit passes by this rubble river every year in mid-August, creating the annual display of shooting stars.
Figure 2 PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY RONALD GARAN, JR., NASA
Universal Transalator Notes:
Wehk literally “ being one of a large indefinite number; numerous; amounting to or consisting of a large indefinite number” in this case … a large indefinite number of words
Terra – Vulcan word for the planet Earth
Figure 1 The comet that gives rise to the Perseid meteor shower, Comet Swift-Tuttle, was photographed during its last pass into the inner Solar System in 1992. Image credit: NASA, of Comet Swift-Tuttle.
Astronaut Snaps Meteor From Space
In an unusual picture taken Saturday from aboard the International Space Station, a meteor streaks toward Earth below. Astronaut Ronald Garan, Jr., was among the sky-watchers who snapped a “shooting star” during the peak of this year’s Perseid meteor shower.