Well this gives new meaning to the phrase “the sky is falling.” In case you haven’t heard, at some point this month 7,000 pounds of flaming hot steel will rain out of the sky as a broken U.S. spy satellite falls somewhere on Earth at a screeming 17,500 mph. The upside is that the atmosphere “should” destroy most of it, but then – who knows? Check it:
- In 2006, wreckage from a plummeting Russian spy satellite whizzed dangerously close to a Latin American Airbus carrying 270 passengers.
- In July 1979, America’s abandoned 78-ton “Skylab” space station fell sooner than expencted and rained debris across the Australian outback.
Odds are this space junk landing harmlessly, particularly where 70% of the Earth is covered by water, BUT . . . there’s a chance it could land in your yard . . . what? There’s a chance! Check the article here.
This, of course, reminds me of ASTEROIDS! No, not the video game, the real deal, baby. Now, I don’t think they’ll be the most likely source of our next SHTF scenario, but anything is possible. Hell, just this past Tuesday an asteroid at least 800′ long made a close pass by Earth. Of course, by “close” we mean almost 1.5 times the distance from the Earth to the moon. According to this report, “an actual collision of a similar-sized objct with Earth occurs on average every 37,000 years.” This is also interesting, “smaller asteroids approach Earth about three times more frequently than large ones” or about one every 300 years.
It DOES happen, though. One of the more famous instances happened in Siberia during 1908 when a large meteorite landed in a remote area. What exactly happened at the site? Hard to say, there are no reliable photos. All we have are eye witness accounts, so check it:
At 500 km (300 mi), observers reported “deafening bangs” and a fiery cloud on the horizon. About 170 km (110 mi) from the explosion, the object was seen in the cloudless, daytime sky as a brilliant, sunlike fireball; thunderous noises were heard. At distances around 60 km, people were thrown to the ground or even knocked unconscious; windows were broken and crockery knocked off shelves. Probably the closest observers were some reindeer herders asleep in their tents in several camps about 30 km (20 mi) from the site. They were blown into the air and knocked unconscious; one man was blown into a tree and later died. “Everything around was shrouded in smoke and fog from the burning fallen trees” (source).
Crazy! The article states that if the asteroid had hit a populated area, the devastation would’ve been enormous. It also states:
In 1972, a 1000-ton object skimmed tangentially through Earth’s atmosphere over the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, and then skipped back out into space, like a stone skipping off water. It was photographed by tourists and detected by Air Force satellites. Had it continued on into the atmosphere, it could have caused a Hiroshima-scale explosion over Canada, somewhat smaller than the Siberian blast.
That’s nothing to shake a stick at! I wonder how safe you’d be if you were underground in a bunker when it hit. Probably quite safe, so long as you’re not receiving a direct hit. Sub-terranean certainly has big SHTF advantages.
Want to read a wicked cool SHTF book that describes the build up to a mega-asteroid strike and the aftermath? You soooo gotta scope Lucifer’s Hammer. The first half of the book builds the characters, describes how some people are denying that it’ll hit, and don’t prepare while others respond in full preparedness force. It’s the second half of the book that I particularly enjoy, it’s total TEOTWAWKI action. You’ve got TONS of desperate people, countries going to war with each other during their times of weakness, a United States that is no longer the United States, and freaky, cannibalistic religious cults that believe the only reason they survived is because they were chosen by God to begin the world again. Pit this cult against a small town situated inside a California valley and you’ve got yourself the making of a good story.
In the words of tslrf, “keep your head low.” There’s space junk falling from the sky.
– Ranger Man