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