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What Would Happen If An Asteroid Actually Hit Earth?

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Feature | 7 Military Disaster Survival Tips | Survival Life

To answer this, first we should find out how much energy 2012 DA14 could release if it crashed into our planet. According to Denton Ebel—Chair of the Division of Physical Sciences and Curator of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the American Museum of Natural History—three other scientists asked themselves this question in 2010: Robert Marcus, H. Jay Melosh, and Gareth Collins.

Ebel says that Marcus et al calculated the kinetic energy of a 50-meter-wide asteroid with a density of 2.6 grams per cubic centimeter and a speed of 12.7 kilometers per second hitting Earth at a 45 degree angle. This would be a similar scenario to 2012 DA14, which is only five meters smaller and, in the opinion of Ebel, “could have a density of about 2.6 grams per cubic centimeter” since it is a stony asteroid too.

Marcus, Melosh and Collins’ calculations resulted in 3.3 Megatons of kinetic energy at entry, with an airburst energy of 2.9 Megatons at about 8.5 kilometers from the surface, “about the cruise altitude of passenger jets.”

This means that an asteroid like this would likely explode in the air, releasing the energy equivalent of about 138 atomic bombs like the one that the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Or, if you would like a more modern equivalent, 2012 DA14 could have exploded with the energy of nine W87 nuclear warheads like the ones carried by the American Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles.

If the magnitude of such an explosion is hard to imagine, take a look at this Chinese 3.3-Megaton atomic bomb test:

Not too shabby.

Needless to say, the effects of such an explosion over New York, San Francisco, London, Madrid, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Beijing or Tokyo, would be quite significant.

But—BUT! thankfully there is a but—fear not: Ebel says that, while “direct hits are bad, these cities are very small targets.” So even if 2012 DA14 were to impact Earth, the probabilities of a direct hit like the one described above would be very, very thin.

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But what if we were really, really unlucky?

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Here are some other Survival Life articles that may help you survive a disaster:

10 Disaster Preparedness Tips You Can Really Use

24 Real World Self Defense Lessons – Ways To Catch Your Breath In Disaster

Disaster Proof Survival Seeds




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  1. ALBERT

    February 16, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    I’m always alert to those that Claim that SCIENCE KNOWS the answers, about everything.
    Yet when it comes to those objects in space, The ALWAYS Leave out LOGIC in their Equations.Any body of any size, Free Falling in Space , Can & most often is Influenced by Bodies of MASS around them. Gravity Attraction plays an important roll in the Plotted Trajectories of these Asteroids, True, However, Even the most Watched of these Close Visitors Can become Influenced by the UNKNOWN. When Those Trackers are Grown Accustomed to seeing Comets Or Asteroids, Returning, they tend to Assume a Relaxed observation of the Object, However, As with this Last Fall over Russia shows, They Never really Know what is going to Happen until it does.
    The worse thing is, Hollywood has it all wrong, Trying to Shoot a Missile at these visitors is like Shooting a 50Cal. Bullet, Rocketing towards you with a 22Cal.Bullet!
    This recent Visitor could Have plowed into an old (OR NEW) Satellite & have it’s course altered, Sending it That much closer to the earth, If not Too it. The bad thing is, Any of these Known Bodies can Attract followers Behind them & They could Hit at any Time.
    Now that I have you all laughing at me, try this on for Size.
    While ON DUTY, One learned from a single map, the Dire Results of one of these Visitors would have if they Hit (IMPACT),One of Thousands of Bunkers located around This Country & others. These Bunkers contain enough Nerve Gas to Kill every Life Form on this Earth, Several times over. Also these Visitors could trigger the same results by striking a Fault-line, A Nuclear Dump, Etc… the Odds are Great but not Quite as Great as Winning the Power-Ball Lottery !
    ———-
    Me worry, not at all, I just like the Whole Truth being Told, Instead of being caught off guard!

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