“Today it was revealed by astronomers in Chile that an asteroid on a direct collision course with planet earth has been discovered. Already named Shiva, after the Hindu god of destruction, the asteroid has been estimated at approximately eighty kilometres in diameter and is predicted to hit the earth on April 13th of this year.
“It has been calculated that on its current trajectory it will collide with the earth somewhere in the North Pacific Ocean, just east of the Mariana trench. The initial impact of Shiva is expected to be so massive that the surrounding ocean will be vaporized and the earth’s crust will tear from the planet at the point of impact, peeling at hypersonic speeds in shock-waves for a radius of fifteen thousand kilometres. Any landmass in its path will be ripped from the surface of the earth. The debris from this will be blasted into low earth orbit and return to destroy what remains of the surface. What is left, that which has not been ripped away, will be engulfed by a fireball burning hotter than the sun that will envelop the earth and incinerate all carbon-based life forms.
“Speculation suggests that tsunamis, earthquakes and hypercanes – five times stronger than a hurricane – will ensue. Within hours after the asteroid’s impact, the surface of the earth will be entirely uninhabitable.
“It is reported that the dust and ash thrown up into the atmosphere will blot out the sun and cause the planet to plunge into what is known as a ‘cosmic winter’. The earth’s temperature will plummet to levels not seen since the last ice-age. When the dust clouds eventually settle, the sun will scorch what remains through the tattered ruins of the ozone layer. Any form of life that remains will die, the world as we know it will cease to exist.
“Scientists have been meeting to discuss all options and the plausibility of any form of mitigation mission that could potentially alter the path of Shiva or stop it in its tracks entirely. Any ideas or speculations are yet to be released but previous predictions of worst-case-scenarios such as the one we face indicate that it is too big and too late. It appears that there is no hope for mankind.
“And now, with sports, here’s Matt Slater.”
© Anthony Cuthbertson
Anthony Cuthbertson is an english freelance writer living in Paris. His work has appeared in various literary journals and magazines, including ‘Notes from the Underground’ (UK), ‘The Guardian’ (UK), and ‘Fogged Clarity’. He is the founding editor of the literary magazine ‘Do Not Look at the Sun’ (www.donotlookatthesun.com). He has recently been shortlisted for the Paris Literary Prize and is currently working on a collection of short stories entitled ‘Tales of the end of the World’. ‘News of the End of Planet Earth’ is an experimental flash fiction piece from this collection.