Saturday, March 7, 2009

Meteor Crater


This past Tuesday we left the Grand Canyon and went to Meteor Crater RV Park. We spent a couple of hours up at the crater. This place is amazing! It looks like a lunar landscape and was used by NASA for Apollo astronauts to practice walking on the moon. It is 2.4 miles across and 550 feet deep. That means it is 60 stories down!! That means, if the Washington Monument were placed at the bottom of the crater, the top would be at eye level! The blurb says it is big enough to have 20 football games going at the same time with 2 million people viewing them from the sloped sides of the crater. A meteor about 150 across travelling about 26,000 miles per hour over 50,000 years ago struck the earth and WHAM!! The force of the collision was bigger than 20 million tons of TNT!! For years crater was thought to have been formed by a volcano. One guy persisted for 26 years to prove otherwise. The wind was howling at 50mph. The path around the rim was closed off. It was a challenge just walking from the parking lot, up the stairs and across the courtyard to the museum and observation areas!
Yes, that is a real space capsule! It is situated in the courtyard and it is sooo small. Can you imagine being in that hurtling back into Earth's atmosphere and splashing down into the ocean? Not me!! I don't do roller coasters or ferris wheels either!

Here's John standing in front of a diorama showing what it looks like to stand at the bottom of the crater. That building way in back of him is the one you can barely make out in the first crater photo.

And, just think, meteors are whizzing by Earth right now! There is a whole field of science that watches them and plots their courses. Just like California waiting for "The Big One", these scientists are waiting for another meteor to strike. Makes you feel secure, doesn't it?

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