From within and without, the Earth faces potentially catastrophic threats that might result in irreversible harm and loss of life. An external threat would result in immediate annihilation. Near-Earth Objects such as an asteroid or comet that travels near to the Earth’s orbit, pose a hazard from the outside. Besides, the last time a gigantic asteroid hit the planet, resulted in dinosaurs becoming a thing of the past.
In the past, the Tunguska event swept over a sparsely populated area, flattening an estimated 80 million trees over a forest area of 2,150 km. Eyewitnesses reported seeing a dazzling white-bluish light and hearing thunder or artillery fire at the moment, and the ground shook like an earthquake. Moreover, people who were near to the impact stated it felt like they were on fire. Thus, an asteroid hit can have massive implications. So, what exactly happens during an asteroid hit?
What happens when an asteroid hits the earth’s surface?
When an asteroid hits the earth’s surface, bystanders are not given any warnings before the collision. The violent incident leaves a smoke trail that leads to a massive shockwave. The shockwave damages thousands of buildings, uprooting not only concrete structures but also the homes of countless people. The consequences are devastating.
With such complications being at stake, it might sound better to take precautionary measures during an asteroid hit. But, can we predict an asteroid hit?
Is it possible to forecast an asteroid strike in time?
The incident of Chelyabinsk was predicted to happen on the very same day it occurred! Just 16 hours after the incident, a similar-sized asteroid named Duende came within 27,000 km of the earth’s surface. That’s closer than satellites in geosynchronous orbits. The momentary streak of light we see as the shooting star and make a wish. It can be one of many interstellar objects hurtling toward earth on a collision course.
When it comes to detecting asteroids before they impact us, we’re not very good. Only 5 asteroids have been detected out of 1200 that have collided with the earth, never with more than a day of warning. There has been no reliable way to date to forecast a strike with precision.
What can we do during an asteroid collision?
Space debris falls from our solar system all the time. Almost 91,000 kilograms or 100 tons per day, travels our way. Most of it vaporizes in the atmosphere, leaving trails of light.
These celestial objects can be spotted, but there is no full-proof way to prevent them from occurring.
We can hope for scientists to discover a way to stop the asteroid. Many methods have been considered, including detonating nuclear bombs near the asteroid in order to shatter it into tiny fragments. To drill bombs into them or attack rockets to change their course. If an asteroid impact does occur and you live inside the impact radius, evacuate the region as soon as possible. If you have time, make sure you bring adequate food and water for the travel.
If you don’t get out in time, prepare for a massive earthquake. Avoid tall buildings and seek shelter under something solid to protect your head. If you live near a body of water, get to higher land as soon as possible. Finally, you could look for a shelter. Perhaps a bunker with reinforced concrete walls at least 30 to 80 cm thick. These are some methods that can assist us in a crisis and lead us to safety.