An impactful day
We'll be the ones to drop the news on you: It's Asteroid Day! Today you're invited to explore a realm of science usually encountered only through white-knuckle action flicks: Asteroid impact avoidance, or the study of what the heck we do if we spot a big chunk of space junk hurtling right at Earth. That's right, don't worry: People somewhere are coming up with plans for this.
Good thing, because as our photo shows, asteroid impacts do happen. Manicouagan Crater, aka the 'eye of Québec,' was formed by a 3-mile-wide meteorite that hit Earth about 215 million years ago. Much more recently, an explosive meteoroid leveled 800 square miles of Siberian forest in what's called the Tunguska event. It was 113 years ago today, and Asteroid Day's date was chosen in recognition.
So, if you find yourself casting paranoid glances at the sky today, maybe do a little searching on how scientists are learning to prevent potential impacts. Proposed plans involve everything from altering an asteroid's course via a gravitational field, to delaying its approach by attaching rocket thrusters, to good old-fashioned blowing it up. Yay science!
Travels to the Oregon deep
We're looking out on the deepest lake in the US. Crater Lake, the centerpiece and namesake of the only national park in Oregon, goes down to depths of 1,943 feet—that's enough room to stack three-and-a-half Washington Monuments end to end. Fed mainly by snowfall, this pristine, crystal blue lake came into this world with a bang. Sometime around 5700 BCE, Mount Mazama erupted, losing roughly 3,000 feet of its height. The volcano blew out so much molten rock that it left a giant depression that gradually filled with water, giving us this serene scene today.
Crater Lake National Park is open to visitors year-round, but in the winter many of the facilities as well as the road circumventing the lake are closed. But, as our picture captures so beautifully, the snowy view is worth a (socially distant) trip.