Millions, possibly billions, of people on Earth were astounded by the unexpected meteorite that blew up over Chelyabinsk, Russia, on February 15, 2013. Ever since that astonishing event there has been much speculation about other possible "city killer" meteorites which might surprise us in the future. One expert estimated there might be as many as 10,000, and stressed, in a Congressional hearing, that if one were to be discovered three weeks from impact, our only recourse would be "to pray."
Ana Darcy Méndez, the extraterrestrial heroine of the Distant Cousin stories, has a slightly different take on the matter.
For one thing, she traveled 25 light years from her home planet to reach our moon, and has first-hand knowledge of what is "out there," in the universe. The reason she came to Earth from the moon was to bring an alert of just such a possible disaster--not of a specific meteorite, to be sure, since astronomers on Earth are generally aware of the larger ones before they reach us. Instead, her moon station manager realized two asteroids were going to collide with each other and break into fragments which would form a debris field the Earth would have to pass through. Rather than three weeks' notice, she provided over three years' notice. The outcome, as readers of her story know, was a happy one (even while it was not the major point of the book).
Ana sees no point in worrying about meteorites colliding with Earth. There are experts who do that, and they either will or will not devise ways to intercept them. The chances of any meteorite strike are remote, and the chance of one "killing" a city are even more remote. She has (and we have) more important and more immediate things to worry about.
Still, Ana found the meteorite brings a reminder. Professional astronomers, amateur astronomers, and ordinary people everywhere who observe the heavens often realize how they suggest the unfathomable size of the universe and of our near insignificance in it.
Ana's people celebrate that and are humbled by it. An incident like the Chelyabinsk meteorite serves to remind all of us of the inconceivably powerful forces that are out there, that make our little blue marble (and Ana's native blue marble not that far away) all the more miraculous.
So with renewed appreciation, she rejoices in that miracle. So let us all.
An extraterrestrial lives in New Mexico?? She loves our poetry? Our art? She has ideas about our education system? Yes to all of that, and more. In the column to the right, see what Ana first saw, where she lives now, some of her recipes, favorite poems, music, and art, and more, much more---->
A Reader writes: "...there are only a few books that I tend to think about or miss the characters after reading so that says a lot about your book!"
And in e-formats (Kindle, Nook, etc.) they are a steal: the whole set, weeks of fun, for less than the cost of one hardback!