Phew, that was close! While we were distracted waiting for the Mayan calendar prophesies of doomsday to be fulfilled, on Dec. 11 we darn near bought the farm.
Two near-earth asteroids buzzed by, one of them coming between us and our moon's orbit.
In astronomical terms, that's close.
I don't want to join the Chicken Little crowd - the sky is falling - but the number of close calls we have had in the last year or so makes one wonder if we are doing enough about the possibility of Earth being hit by an asteroid.
Asteroid 2012 XE 54 was discovered on Dec. 9 and passed between the Earth and our moon at a distance of about 226,000 kilometres two days later.
Of course, two days' notice would probably not be enough time to do much of anything, but at least we saw this one coming.
There are currently 8,880 near-earth asteroids identified orbiting around our solar system, and we know we have not found them all.
The goal, of course, would be to identify any that have a potential collision course with Earth, and then have a plan to do something about it.
On Feb. 23, 2012 - seven days after the fact - scientists noted somewhat worryingly that no one had noticed the approach of asteroid 2012 DA, which missed Earth by about two million kilometres.
Apparently, it was only by luck that Spain's observatory discovered the asteroid after it went by because they had invested $7,000 in a new type of telescope.
At least by discovering it after its pass, its orbit was calculated - and Asteroid 2012 DA is scheduled to return on Feb. 15 this year. It has been calculated the asteroid will pass so close to Earth that it will be visible with binoculars.
The asteroid is apparently the size of an Olympic swimming pool.
Never has the orbit of a rock that big been calculated to pass so near.
Scientists are quick to point out that the trajectory will cause it to miss Earth, but it will probably come between Earth and some of our existing satellites - 25,000 kilometres.
A team at Italy's University of Pisa, which calculates asteroid trajectories, claims this close encounter is a good thing, because it will enable astrologers to calculate more precisely the slim odds that 2012 DA will smash into Earth next time it comes close, which will be Friday the 13th, 2026.
One of the other advantages cited, according to Bill Nye The Science Guy is that we will be convinced to spend more money and research time on identifying all the asteroids, and on making a plan about what to do with future potential collisions.
A number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been formed, including one called the B612 Foundation. They are hoping the close encounter will energize fundraising.
There are many hypothetical plans on how to stop an asteroid. They range from destroying it with a nuclear weapon to changing its course by strapping a rocket to it or using a gravitational tractor to tow it.
While some of these efforts are nuts, we ought to be looking into which one is best, as we may only get to do the experiment once.
In the worst case scenario, we would have to figure out ways to move large populations or possibly develop a lottery system to see who gets the bunkers.
Or as Stephen Hawking has suggested, we need to prepare a plan to abandon Earth.
We will get right on that, I'm sure.
Gordy Robson is a former Maple Ridge mayor and a local businessman who was raised in this community. His opinion column appears Tuesdays in the print and/or online versions of The TIMES. Questions and reactions can
be emailed to Gordy c/o editorial@ mrtimes.com.