As if hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, castastrophic floods, and other natural disasters weren’t enough to worry us, now there’s the threat from the heavens: asteroids.
According to an article by Ivan Couronne appearing on Phys.org, international “planetary defense” experts have been simulate the effects of an asteroid hitting earth. So far, the results have been mixed. After devastating the French Riviera in 2013, destroying Dhaka in 2015 and saving Tokyo in 2017, an international asteroid impact simulation ended Friday with its latest disaster—New York in ruins.
That’s not good considering New York is my lifelong home.
Despite a simulated eight years of preparation, scientists and engineers tried but failed to deflect the killer asteroid, the article says. The latest edition began Monday near Washington, with the following alert: an asteroid roughly 100 to 300 meters (330 to 1,000 feet) in diameter had been spotted and according to rough calculations had a one percent chance of hitting the Earth on April 29, 2027.
According to the article, each day during the conference, some 200 astronomers, engineers and emergency response specialists received new information, made decisions, and awaited further updates from the organizers of the game, designed by a NASA aerospace engineer.
As fictional months ticked by in the simulation, the probability of the giant space rock crashing into Earth rose to 10 percent—and then to 100 percent.
NASA launched a probe in 2021 to examine the threat up close. In December that year, astronomers confirmed it was headed straight to the Denver area and that the western US city would be destroyed.
The major space powers of the United States, Europe, Russia, China and Japan decided to build six “kinetic impactors”—probes meant to hit the asteroid to change its trajectory.
It took time to build the impactors and wait for the right launch window. The impacts were set for August 2024.
Three impactors managed to hit the asteroid. The main body was deflected, but a smaller fragment broke off and continued on a deadly path, this time towards the eastern US.
According to the article, with six months to go, experts could only predict that the asteroid was headed to the New York area. With two months to go, it is confirmed the city will be destroyed.
Time to make my escape.
The article was quoted as saying the asteroid will enter the atmosphere at a blistering 69,000 kilometers per hour (43,000 miles per hour) and explode 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) above Central Park.
The energy of the blast will be 1,000 times that of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
It will destroy everything within a 15 kilometer “unsurvivable” radius, scientists said.
The article paints a dismal picture, expecting Manhattan to be completely razed, with windows as far as 45 kilometers away shattering and damage extending as far out as 68 kilometers from the epicenter.
One can only hope the scenario the simulation predicts never comes true.