Asteroid Strike

Earth dodged a bullet on Tuesday.

An asteroid passed within 202,000 miles of Earth — about four-fifths of the distance to the moon — at 6:28 p.m. Tuesday, NASA said.

That’s the closest object in 200 years. And this was no flimsy atmospheric research satellite falling from near earth orbit, like we saw earlier this year, this was a huge chunk of  rock, 1300 feet long.

If the asteroid had crashed into Earth, it could have caused a 4,000-megaton blast and a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, according to scientists at Purdue University. If it fell into the ocean, it could have caused a 70-foot-high tsunami within 60 miles of the crash site, the experts said. source

A couple of the news reports mentioned that scientists had been watching the approach for close to six years. That got me wondering, would scientists warn us about an earth collision? Maybe they would warn the government, but would they warn the rest of the population?   I mean, something smallish like this one, yea sure, 5 years foreknowledge makes for a nice orderly (sort of) evacuation of the impact site, if they can calculate it and we can all basically go about our lives. But, something extinction level big? No, I doubt we’d be told. Mass hysteria and complete break down of law and order is quite likely. Better to spring it on the populace a couple of days out. Perhaps it would leak out in some wiki-leak report.

Of course, if budget cuts keep up like they are, maybe we won’t have the money to fund things like the Near Earth Object Program, and it will be a surprise to all of us.

Scientists estimate that thousands of asteroids around the size of YU55 remain to be discovered.

2 days or 2 years, what would you do? Find a deep cave?  Hunker down with your stored wheat? Do you think you’ve got what it takes to survive an asteroid strike?

– Calamity Jane

12 comments… add one
  • Juliette of Ohio November 10, 2011, 11:20 am

    No, I don’t think I’m ready for that one! Know it’s happened many, many times in the past, but am hoping to squeak through this life without one.

    Am so sorry you’re having morning sickness. We had six kids and I was only sick with two. I have no ideas to help you, just that it will pass. No matter how sick you are, the baby is usually just fine which is surprising. Wishing you an easy labor and a sweet baby!

    I thin hamburger soup with a pint of home-canned tomatoes, which gets rid of the gluey taste. (Bet you’re loving this topic right now!) In my experience, beans tend to get mushy (as in ham and bean soup), but more practice might make it better.

    If an asteroid hits, I plan to hold my husband’s hand and pray. Am praying even harder that it doesn’t hit. Everything seems so strange any more. I want to go home to Kansas and be buried next to my husband in our family plot, not vaporized into ashes in Ohio. Normalcy is beginning to be the unattainable holy grail for us. What will you do?

    Reply
    • Calamity Jane November 10, 2011, 7:05 pm

      What would I do? I like Templar’s idea. Drink and snuggle with my family until the blast. Pregnant women shouldn’t say such things, but there you have it. lol

      Reply
  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. November 10, 2011, 1:47 pm

    I doubt very much if the public would be informed of imminent collision, the vast majority of us would not be able to handle the truth. Widespread fear and looting very probable, just cause far more headaches than it would serve.

    The government would warn their own and take steps to make sure they were as prepared as much as possible.

    Reply
  • Templar November 10, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I’d grab a corkscrew & head for the wine cellar……..
    Seriously, though: unless you’re close to the coast or actually near ground zero, you’ll survive the impact. It’s the long-term climatic changes that’ll be a problem. Therefore, be as prepared as you can be & ride it out. Also, read Lucifer’s Hammer.

    Reply
    • Calamity Jane November 10, 2011, 7:05 pm

      I’ve not read that one. I may have to now. Does the book get the science right? I really hate it when they get the science all wrong.

      Reply
  • Jarhead Survivor November 10, 2011, 2:48 pm

    Lucifer’s Hammer has some good description of what a comet strike might have on Earth. The difference between a comet and an asteroid are many, but in the end they’ll both wreck your day. (Comets are big balls of ice and dirt whereas an asteroid is a big chunk of rock and metal.) Comets are generally moving faster having come from outside the solar system. Like I said earlier, they’ll both ruin your day. If you can survive the initial moment of impact you’ve got a pretty good chance of living – for at least awhile – afterwards.

    Reply
    • Joe November 13, 2011, 9:55 pm

      Great read, Lucifer’s Hammer.

      Reply
  • Jarhead 03 November 10, 2011, 3:15 pm

    I will admit I was concerned, instead of parking at my normal location at work I parked at my companies underground parking structure that is 6 stories underground in the event of an EMP, increased the items in the bag and added a filtered respirator we use for working around dust and fumes, had the fold up bike with me to haul equipment and pack home since its 26 miles in the event the EMP got that deep or I can’t get pass blockades .

    Since I work for a subway system I told my boss I need to do inspections during that time frame. No one knew my reason as most coworkers don’t watch the news. When the time frame passed I moved my SUV back to my normal parking area.

    May have been a bit extreme but at the end of the day I can say I was prepared.

    Reply
  • millenniumfly November 10, 2011, 4:38 pm

    There’s no doubt they wouldn’t tell us of an extinction level event. Besides, I didn’t think the space-nerds have even mapped most of the possible collision objects anyway; there could be one headed at us right now and we wouldn’t have a clue.

    Reply
  • Veridical Driver November 10, 2011, 7:42 pm

    There are tens of thousands of astronomers in quite a few countries. If an Earth-destroying collision was eminent, we would know about it. A government might be able to keep a small imminent colision secret.

    Reply
  • Prepared N.D. November 10, 2011, 8:16 pm

    Here’s a neat little simulator the folks at Purdue made.

    http://www.purdue.edu/impactearth

    Reply
  • T.R November 14, 2011, 11:49 pm

    Not only asteroids but take a look at all the dormant volcanos around the globe , one of the big ones could start another ice age with all the ash blowing into the atmosphere . The earth has a natural rotational ” wobble ” that changes the location of the poles slightly . Its enough to affect climates drastically in areas and promote crop failures . This happens every ” X ” thousand years .

    Reply

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