2536 Asteroid Impact on Earth Narrowly Averted

A two-kilometer asteroid from the Kuiper belt, a Kuiper Belt Object, or KBO, can be diverted at the very last moment in a cooperation between interplanetary and terrestrial forces. The KBO misses the earth by only 20,000 kilometers.

An impact on Earth would have caused a planetary catastrophe and a "minor" extinction event. This means that "only" 10% of the species would have become extinct. At least all life in Africa would have been destroyed and the entire Earth would have been severely affected. Humans would probably not have survived without outside help. Comparable impacts of comets or asteroids are rare, statistically occurring every few million years.

This near-collision, however, was no accident. It was the work of lunar hyper-preservationists, adherents of the "Gaia Reboot" theory, which assumes that humankind will not end environmental degradation thus preventing the planet to recover as long as there are humans on Earth. Therefore, these extreme preservationists strive to purge the earth of humans. Depending on the beliefs of the respective sect, this is to be done either by deporting humankind from the earth or by exterminating all humans. These "Gaia-First" preservationists in particular even want to wipe out all humans in the Sol system (and beyond) to prevent later "recontamination".

To this effect, a group of preservationists originating from the earth moon infiltrate a survivalist faction in the Kuiper belt over the course of 30 years. After taking control of the survivalist's base on a far Kuiper belt object, they control several prospector ships and their cargo: fusion torch engines. Using the fusion torches, they maneuver an asteroid so that it moves into the inner system after a close flyby of another celestial body and a Neptune swing-by. Of course, the Neptune swing-by and the object's trajectory are registered by the population at and around Neptune. At this point, however, the trajectory is such that the KBO would miss earth by about one million kilometers, three times the distance of the moon. However, over many years the preservationists carefully correct the flight path until the KBO is on a collision course with Earth. Still, distances in the outer system are so large, that such a trajectory takes decades.

Eleven years before the calculated impact, the KBO is registered under the official name Umvelinqangi (Zulu: the origin). While an impact is still years away, the discovery makes great news throughout the system. It is quite clear to everyone, on Earth as well as the in the Solar Coalition, that Umvelinqangi does not pose a serious threat for it can be diverted at any time.

A few years later, the Coalition finds itself in a cold war with the Earth Union, triggered by Earth's obvious efforts to build interplanetary war fighting capabilities. Thus, the Coalition's enthusiasm to divert Umvelinqangi at considerable expense is limited.

Only nine months before the projected collision does a donation-funded space-tug from Mars begin to push Umvelinqangi out of its orbit. But at this point, it is clear that much greater effort is needed to prevent disaster.

Five months before the collision, eight tugs sponsored by Venusian and Martian factions join the effort.

Four months before the collision, Earth forces arrive with more space-tugs and war ships. They install fusion torch drives and a powerful hydrogen extraction infrastructure.

Then, just three months from impact, missiles launched from hidden magazines destroy many space-tugs, fusion torches, and hydrogen processing plants. Only the presence of military units from Earth prevents the complete destruction of the rescue fleet. Obviously, the preservationists had anticipated the rescue effort and attempted to thwart it by a missile attack. However, they seem to have underestimated the military capabilities of the rescue fleet in the final phase.

These dramatic events trigger great helpfulness throughout the system. Six weeks before impact, 50 vehicles from the Moon, L4, and L5 arrive at Umvelinqangi. Many of them funded by factions from the inner and outer systems. With combined forces, they manage to shift Umvelinqangi enough so that it misses the earth by just three planetary radii.

So, Earth narrowly dodges a serious attempt by Gaia-First hyper-preservationist terrorists which would have devastated the earth, probably killed billions of people, and without doubt would have ended any civilization on the surface.