Scientists have told which asteroid can completely destroy the Earth
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Our planet, unlike people on it, is much stronger, than many think.
For millions of years, dinosaurs dominated Earth, but 66 million years ago, a 10 km asteroid impact put an end to that. As a result of climate change, earthquakes and terrible tsunamis, in addition to almost all dinosaurs, two-thirds of living creatures disappeared from the face of the Earth. But the planet itself withstood the blow and remained safe and sound. Perhaps the Earth is not so easily destroyed by an asteroid impact? Or maybe you just need a giant asteroid for this? Scientists answered these questions for Live Science.
Scientists believe that if the same asteroid that caused the extinction of dinosaurs falls on Earth, then people will definitely disappear. And the planet itself will again withstand a powerful blow.
So what size should an asteroid be for our planet to collapse as a result of a collision? Scientists believe that only the impact of a space rock, which will be the size of a planet, can lead to such a sad result for the Earth. But on the other hand, a similar event has already occurred in the early history of the Earth and the planet was almost not affected.
According to the existing theory, about 4.5 billion years ago, a planet crashed into the Earth, which resembled Mars in size (the diameter of the Red Planet is slightly more than 6,700 km, and the diameter of the Earth is slightly more than 12,700 km). As a result of the collision, fragments are believed to have been ejected into space, from which the Moon was subsequently formed.
But this impact planet, which was named Theia, did not destroy the Earth, but instead part of its core and mantle connected with the same parts of the Earth. So far, scientists have not come to a consensus on whether it was a direct blow, or whether Theia simply delivered a so-called glancing blow. But for sure, all scientists believe that if there were life on our planet then, then all of it would be destroyed.
“This object was 600 times larger than the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, and yet the Earth survived. Perhaps a larger object could have split our planet apart,” says Brian Tun from Colorado State University Boulder, USA.
On the other hand, many scientists agree that an asteroid with a diameter of 10 km is enough to destroy humanity. This would also lead to the extinction of most living creatures on the planet.
For example, scientists from NASA believe that even a space rock no smaller than 140 meters in size can destroy a metropolis when it falls, and the shock wave will erase Earth's entire infrastructure (and will destroy people and animals, of course) for many tens of kilometers from the epicenter of the strike.
According to astrophysicist Gerrit Verschuur of Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, even an asteroid impact with a diameter of 1 km or a little more can lead to the end of civilization. That is, a climate catastrophe caused by the fall of such a stone can destroy all people.
“Even the fall of such a relatively small asteroid, firstly, will destroy all life hundreds of kilometers around, and other people will suffer from strong fires and smoke that will envelop the planet. Into the sky a huge amount of dust will rise, which will close the sky for a while and the so-called impact winter will last for a certain period of time,” says Vershuur.
With this development of events, there is a small chance that some part of humanity will survive, and with it, small mammals on land will survive. The rest of the animals will die, like all plant life.
So far, NASA scientists who monitor potentially dangerous asteroids see no reason to panic. They believe that none of the space rocks should hit the Earth before the beginning of the 22nd century.
But such a possibility always exists and should not be discarded. So a truly historic event happened this week. The NASA spacecraft, as a result of a collision with the asteroid Dimorph, which in the event of a fall would cause many problems on the planet, changed its path of rotation around another asteroid. This means that humanity has a chance to be saved in the future. Alas, dinosaurs did not have such technology.
As Focus already wrote, the Webb and Hubble telescopes monitored the collision of the DART apparatus with a space rock measuring almost 160 m from space. NASA showed the results of their work by publishing images of the impact event.