Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds, premiering tomorrow on Apple TV+, is filmmaker Werner Herzog and geoscientist Clive Oppenheimer's new documentary about meteorites, their impact (heh) on culture, and the existential threat that a giant meteor could mean the end of humanity. From The Guardian:
Weird things spring up in the blast radius. The shock and awe and destruction, and humanity's stunned realisation that our lives can suddenly be wiped out, mutate over millennia into religious rituals intended to placate or celebrate this dark god of destruction. But also, like space exploration in reverse, meteorites might have brought prototype organic matter with them from the distant reaches of the universe.
Oppenheimer and Herzog journey to Wolfe Creek, the huge and rather terrifying meteorite crater in Western Australia (the indigenous people call it Kandimalal), the result of an impact 120,000 years ago creating a vast circular depression. The film juxtaposes it with Mecca in Saudi Arabia and speculates that the precious "black stone" there is in fact a meteorite. They also show up in Ensisheim in north-eastern France, where in 1492 a boulder-sized meteorite crashed to Earth, and its meaning was earnestly discussed: a portent that was solemnly deemed to be in favour of the existing political status quo, and the date's Columbus coincidence was to reinforce its significance for years to come.