It’s World Asteroid Day, and we here at Quirk were wondering what the big deal is with asteroids. Sure, you can read about what people will do when faced with imminent asteroid impact, like in Ben H. Winter’s The Last Policeman. But what about the asteroids themselves? We were able to get an exclusive interview with Asteroid 243 Toutatis to talk about its hopes, dreams, and future.
QUIRK: So, you’re an asteroid.
243 TOUTATIS: Nothing gets past you. In truth, I am merely an asteroid now. I’m in a bit of a transitional state. Between identities, if you will.
QUIRK: How so?
243 TOUTATIS: Once I enter the pull of Earth’s gravity, I shall become a meteoroid. And then, there’s always a possibility of becoming a meteor! And then crashing into the surface of the Earth, annihilating all life upon impact. I’ll be a meteorite, then. Maybe several!
QUIRK: Go back a bit, to that part about becoming a meteor.
243 TOUTATIS: Honestly I’m not really into labels. Becoming incandescent as a result of friction in your atmosphere and appearing as a streak of light is very flattering, but it doesn’t define me.
QUIRK: And that stuff about annihilating all life upon impact?
243 TOUTATIS: That doesn’t define me either. I’m more about the journey than the destination. Imagine me, little ol’ 243 Toutatis, out of all the asteroids and space debris that litter this solar system, breaking away to travel to Earth! Look out, world! Seriously, though, y’all should look out. I’m pretty sure my impact will be a “global killer.” Just like Dottie in Armageddon! I love that movie.
QUIRK: You’ve seen Armageddon?
243 TOUTATIS: Only a billion times! It’s my favorite film! I always cry at the ending, though. Dottie…deserved better.
QUIRK: But how can an asteroid—
243 TOUTATIS: Meteoroid.
QUIRK: I’m sorry?
243 TOUTATIS: I’ve been pulled into your planet’s gravity. Asteroid no longer applies.
QUIRK: I thought you didn’t like being labeled.
243 TOUTATIS: Doesn’t mean I like being mislabeled.
QUIRK: How does it feel, being a meteoroid, instead of an asteroid?
243 TOUTATIS: Well, Earth has a pretty strong pull to it, I won’t lie. It feels…faster. Definitely faster. Plus, there’s the possibility of becoming a meteor. That’s very exciting.
QUIRK: What do plan on doing when you become a meteor?
243 TOUTATIS: Glow, mainly. Get very hot. Shed a few pounds. Got to look good for my grand entrance. Which will kill all life on the planet. Did I mention that already?
QUIRK: A few times, yes.
243 TOUTATIS: It’s such a little thing, but I do think it’s important. You don’t live down there, do you?
QUIRK: On Earth? Yes.
243 TOUTATIS: Oh. Hmm. You may want to consider moving. There won’t be much left when I hit!
QUIRK: And, when will that be? Do you have a timeline?
243 TOUTATIS: Sorry, sweetie, I literally cannot hear you over my own brilliance! I’m a meteor! I’m glowing bright, like a midday star! I’m burning up! Catch you on the ground!
QUIRK: But wait—