Waiting in line to pay for my purchases, minding my own business, a couple of young women were discussing their views of the world around us.
"It's the end I tell you," one of them said. "If it hits like they say, we're all done for."
Now, I wasn't sure what the "it" was, which intrigued me. I know what this type of conversation usually entails, because I, like so many others, have experienced the brown matter of life hitting the fan before. Now don't judge me too much. It's not like I was eavesdropping, they were talking loud enough the conversation could be heard a couple aisles away from checkout.
When the other young woman asked where she heard about "it," the reply was "It's all over Facebook."
I had to chuckle at Facebook being considered a reliable news source. But, I guess that is the quintessence of the people of today.
If it's on the Internet, especially Facebook, it has to be real.
"Yeah, they say the asteroid is supposed to hit Earth next week," one of the women said, and then laughed. "It's the apocalypse. I say we party and run up the credit cards because the end is coming. Won't matter anyway after Tuesday."
The end of the world is happening in less than a week? I didn't know anything about that. I went home and checked my Facebook for more information. Yep, there it was, apocalypse announcements galore. There was even a countdown to Armageddon clock running. I could see why someone might believe all the hoopla was real. I swallowed down that sudden lump you get in your throat when things are unknown. What if?
Not quite ready to go "spend happy" with the credit cards or party while the world ends, I went to the NASA website to learn more.
Turns out the two young women were discussing misinformation about the upcoming "Asteroid Day" sponsored by NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration.
Scheduled for Tuesday, June 30, the event is supposed to bring about awareness of the threat posed by near-Earth objects. The date is also the anniversary of the 1908 asteroid impact in Siberia that wiped out approximately 800 square miles of forest in an isolated area.
The two organizations are working together to encourage governments to come together and create planetary defense plans to deflect potential doomsday asteroids so they don't strike Earth.
Apparently humanity and all of life as we know it are not going the way of the dinosaurs, because no information about an asteroid hitting Earth on next Tuesday could be found on any government website I checked.
I remembered the asteroid impact in 2013. I was watching the story break live on the Internet as it happened. The videos of the large asteroid flying through the air and ultimately striking an area near Chelyabinsk with a bright flash of light like an atomic bomb, it was scary. I couldn't help but think what would happen to my family if it happened here. Now, or in the future
The founders of Asteroid Day have created the 100x Asteroid Declaration, which calls on governments to increase by a hundredfold the discovery and tracking of near-Earth objects.
Learning the real facts about next Tuesday eased my mind, but then I found out something really cool.
The founders of this movement include Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May and William Sanford Nye AKA "Bill Nye the Science Guy."
At that point, I couldn't help but think of the discussion that lead me to this journey. Facebook can be entertaining, but, if you ask me, seeking out the real information is much more enlightening and will lead to some great conversations.
Log on to nasa.gov to learn more about NASA, or nnsa.energy.gov to learn about the National Nuclear Security Administration.