Will an Asteroid Hit Earth? - The Musings of A Curious Explorer
An Asteroid Hitting Earth
How Will the World End? Will an asteroid hit Earth?
As we near the much prophesied date of the apparent doomsday - December 21, 2012 - more and more people are beginning to ponder the same question. "Could it be true, this time?"
How will the world end? Will an asteroid hit earth? Will Aliens attack? Will the Devil rise up to wreak havoc upon the earth as foretold by the bible?
So many questions. Very few answers other than what we are able to glean from ancient literature and evidence found with the remains of dead civilizations.
Science can help us to understand a little more succinctly the chances of an asteroid hitting our beloved planet and causing our extinction, though, and that is my goal in this hub. To explore the possibility that an asteroid could collide with earth and cause catastrophic destruction.
What are Asteroids?
According to Nasa:
"Asteroids are metallic, rocky bodies without atmospheres that orbit the sun but are too small to be classified as planets. Known as "minor planets," tens of thousands of asteroids congregate in the so-called main asteroid belt: a vast, doughnut-shaped ring located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter from approximately 2-1 AU (186 million to 370 million miles/300 million to 600 million kilometers). Gaspra and Ida are main belt asteroids."
What the End May Look Like
Predictions and Prophecies
Nostradamus Fortold That An Asteroid Would Hit Earth
"In the year 1999 and seven months
The Great, KIng of Terror shall
come from the sky. He will bring to
life the King of The Mongols. Before
and after, Mars reigns happily."
As you can see from the quote above, Nostradamus' prediction of the asteroid/comet/meteor missed the mark and by a huge margin. It is now the year 2012 and still no sign of the 'king of terror' from the sky. However, some people are putting two and two together and linking the end of the Mayan Calender, or the end of the world as some believe, to Nostradamus' prediction.
Will an asteroid hit Earth on December 21, 2012 and precipitate the end of life as we know it or will this massively publicized and popular prophecy amount to nothing as the Y2K prophecy did?
Something Sinister in the Air
I don't know about you but I certainly feel differently about the 2012 doomsday prediction. There is definitely something more frightening about this prediction although I can't pinpoint exactly what that may be, call it intuition if you will.
I'm no expert on religions or religious prophecies but I do know that this year there seem to be a lot more believers of this doomsday from every religion. I have heard that the Bible refers to judgement day and the collection of sinners, and it has been said by many that this is the year when collection is due. Could it be that God would send an asteroid smashing into Earth, obliterating not just us but all life in order to collect what is due?
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak," - Matthew 12:36
The Asteroid That is Said to Have Wiped Out the Dinosaurs
- Asteroids are the remaining pieces of debris left over from the formation of our universe 4.6 billion years ago
- Ceres is the largest known asteroid at a huge 940 km across
- Asteroids revolve around the Sun in elliptical orbits
- Asteroids even have their own moons
- An asteroid capable of global disaster would have to be more than a quarter-mile wide
How Big Would An Asteroid Need to be to Wipe out Life on Earth?
An Asteroid 10 km Across Would Cause the End of the World
On average an asteroid this size strikes our planet every 50 - 100 million years and the last time it happened it caused the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico as well as the subsequent extinction of the dinosaurs. It wouldn't matter whether an asteroid this size struck land or ocean. The devastation would be the same. The asteroid would collide with the Earth's crust and be vaporized along with a huge chunk of the planet, creating a crater apporximately 100 km across and throwing massive amounts of dust and rock into our atmosphere. Any surviving life remaining after the initial impact and shock waves would die of eventual starvation as the sun would be completely obscured by the debris, for years.
Asteroid 2005 YU55 passing very close to Earth on November 8 2011
A Close Encounter With an Asteroid
On November 8, 2011 a 400 metre-wide asteroid passed within 325,000km of our planet. The asteroid named 2005 YU55 hurtled past the Earth at 48,000kph (30,000mph), coming slightly closer than the Moon.
Had that asteroid struck earth and landed in the ocean, it would have caused a 70ft high Tsunami which is even higher than the deadly waves that struck in the Indian Ocean and claimed so many lives in 2004.
The last time an asteroid came so close was in 1978 and the next known date for a close encounter with asteroid is about 16 years with asteroid 2001 WN5. This asteroid has been estimated to be 3 times the size of 2005 YU55 and if it were to strike our planet, the damage would be catastrophic.
According to Dr McMillan, head of the Spacewatch project at the University of Arizona:
‘The calculations suggest that if a 1km diameter asteroid were to hit the Earth, the aerosols thrown into the upper atmosphere would stay up there for a couple of years.'
‘It would make the Sun so dim that it would shut down agriculture for two years. That’s what we call a civilisation-ending asteroid,’ he said.
The Impact Area of the Asteroid that Killed the Dinosaurs
Doomsday Poll! :)
Will an Asteroid hitting Earth be the way our world ends or will it end another way?
Will an Asteroid Hit Earth? Some Predictions
Asteroid - 2012 DA14
Astronomers at the La Sagra Observatory in Spain have discovered a 150 foot-wide asteroid that will veer very close to the Earth on February 15, 2013. The Asteroid may come within 27,000 km of Earth and could potentially destroy satellites in orbit around the Earth.
However, if the asteroid does hit the Earth, the impact will be similar to that of the Tunguska blast in 1908 which cleared a swath of trees over a total area of 2,150 sq km in Siberia.
Asteroid - 2011 AG5
According to astronomers at the Mount Lemmon observatory in Arizona 2011 AG5 has a 625 - 1 chance of hitting Earth in the year 2040. But just how big is this asteroid? 460ft across is the estimation at present. Although an impact from an asteroid this size wouldn't cause our extinction, it could still wipe out a city.
The Big One - 1999 RQ36
According to scientists, in the year 2182 a massive asteroid could hit Earth. September 24, 2182 has been estimated as the date of impact or near impact and the asteroid has a 1-in-1000 chance of hitting Earth which is too close for comfort, in my opinion. This asteroid is a massive 1,800ft across and would more than likely cause total extinction should it hit our planet.
Scientists say that should we wish to divert the asteroid, we would have to do it 100 years before it is due to hit to stand any chance of success.
Will An Asteroid Hit Earth?
This year? No, not likely. Not unless there is an asteroid hiding somewhere out there in space which is highly unlikely as our astronomers are constantly on the look out for asteroids and other celestial bodies.
Just what is coming on December 21 this year? I guess we'll have to wait and see!