What role do impacts and collisions with other planets and comets play in the formation of the earth? Even before Velikovsky developed the idea that the Earth had been knocked off its orbit by a collision with Venus during historical times. ancient astronomers had speculated that comets and other planetary bodies may have hit the earth.
How Our the Ancients Saw Comets.
Below is a translation of an interesting book published in German in 1839 and entitled: “About the dreadful effects of the overthrow of a comet on the earth, and of the phenomenon of that kind, five thousand years ago.”
As the name suggests, the book advances a theory of catastrophic impacts between the earth and comets or more accurately asteroids, which the author believes have shaped the Earth’s mountain ranges and other features. Although much of his theories are completely wrong, the book was ahead of its time in theorizing that celestial objects could collide with the earth. In fact, the author takes the bold position that rocks actually do fall from the sky, as claimed by many witnesses.
This was a radical theory in as late as the 19th century, when mainstream scientists still attributed any tales of falling meteorites striking the earth as the ravings of lunatics, because according to orthodox science, rocks could simply not fall from the sky. This author not only accepts that meteorites exist and can strike the earth but he theorizes that very large bodies can also collide with our planet. In this respect the author is even more ahead of his time since he correctly speculates that the earth would suffer cataclysmic consequences from such a collision, a theory which is the precursor to the modern theory that an extinction level event occurred when a large body collided with the earth, wiping out the dinosaurs.
As is often the case, when someone advances a theory outside of the governing scientific orthodoxy, the author was not an astronomer. The book’s front piece states that he was a school professor and an honorary member of a the Mineralogy Society of Jenna (Germany). Needless to say, his theory seems to have been largely ignored, despite the fact that subsequent discoveries have confirmed his basic discovery that planetary bodies can collide.