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Asteroid Impact Risk

March 9, 2012, by Ken Jorgustin

asteroid-impact-risk

Another reminder of one of the risks that we face, a risk of lesser probability, but a risk that could be life changing or life ending. That is, asteroid impact. Just a few days ago, another ‘new’ asteroid was discovered, an asteroid that will come very close to striking the earth on February 15 2013. In fact, it is projected at this time to be so close that it will come well within the inside of the orbit of our geostationary satellites! In astronomical terms, that is very VERY close.

The asteroid, named ‘2012 DA14’, is about the size of the space rock that exploded above Siberia in 1908, flattening 500,000 acres of forest! Huge impacts are a part of our planet’s history, after all; one wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and it’s just a matter of time before another big space rock lines Earth up in its sights, astronomers say.

From a survival preparedness standpoint, when assessing the risks that we face, this particular type of risk (asteroid impact) is particularly unsettling due to the sheer number of new asteroids that are discovered each year, many of them in startlingly close orbits. All it takes is one major impact to ruin our day.

How does one calculate the odds of an asteroid impact when there remain so many yet to be discovered and while at any moment, we could be slammed with one that has gone undetected? Fortunately there have already been many discoveries, particularly the so called ‘planet killers’, but still… when someone discovers an asteroid the size of the Tunguska River event in Siberia that is eminently due on a near collision course, it makes you wonder…

According to The Armagh Observatory, a modern astronomical research institute and the oldest scientific institution in Northern Ireland, it is estimated that there are perhaps 100,000 to 1,000,000 (that’s ‘million’) undiscovered asteroids on Earth crossing orbits.

The asteroid belt, located between Mars and Jupiter, is filled with up to several million asteroids all jostling about. A previously predicted orbit could instantly become brand-new and a danger to earth if two of these space rocks collide together and change their path – just like hitting two pool balls on a pool table.

The earth is littered with asteroid impact craters, and some of them are hidden in plain sight. The best preserved impact crater on earth is the ‘Meteor Crater’ located near Winslow Arizona, and is nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep.

meteor-crater-arizona

An asteroid would have to be pretty big to end all life, but perhaps not so big to change it as we know it today. What can we do to be prepared for such a thing? The biggest difference between prepping for asteroid impact compared to ordinary prepping is the fact that a large asteroid impact will send fire, extreme heat, and flaming chunks of debris raining down over a very wide region, possibly incinerating many things above ground. So, it seems that an underground shelter would help in this case! Otherwise, just continue to prep as usual.

Ordinary awareness to all risks is a good thing. Asteroid impact is one of the risks, albeit small in odds compared to others. Nevertheless, a planet killer could be discovered tomorrow…

What would you do?

 

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