Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Asteroid Day

Today is Asteroid Day - the anniversary of the Tunguska strike.

So, I figured I'd put out some asteroid facts.

1. If it burns up in the atmosphere, it's a meteor. If it hits the ground, it's a meteorite. A lot of people get these confused.

2. The most recent damaging strike took place in 2013 when a meteor exploded above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. About 1,100 people were injured - most of them by flying glass when they rushed to windows to watch the show. (Hint, huge fireball in sky, go AWAY from the windows). This was caused by an object about ten meters across that did not even hit the ground.

3. The best preserved impact site is Meteor Crater in northern Arizona, which is nearly a mile across and over 550 feet deep. This was caused by an object about 50 meters across.

4. The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event - a fancy way of describing the destruction of the dinosaurs - was almost certainly triggered by the meteorite that created the Chicxulub crater, which is 112 miles wide. This rock was probably somewhere between 10 and 15 kilometers across.

So, uh...we don't want to get hit by one of those. (I don't even really want to be hit by a little one *eyes the picture windows*).

Which is why we need asteroid diversion (and ideally capture and mining, because some of those asteroids are made out of pretty valuable stuff - including gold and platinum).