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Danger! Asteroids Are Not Blowing Up Like Nuclear Bombs!

Alert! Alert! A new scientific study has found that big space rocks, with enough mass to create an explosion the size of a small nuclear bomb, strike our planet about once every month!

Danger! Why, just imagine looking up in the sky and seeing a nuclear explosion once per month… and then keep on imagining. Have you noticed that you have never seen any such blast ever in your life?

There’s a reason. Almost all the meteors of the size described in the article break up within the atmosphere without much drama. They would have to enter the atmosphere at just the right angle and speed to reach their full destructive potential.

As one of the alarmist articles hyping the recent study finally admits, “Most of the kiloton-sized explosions recorded this century resulted in very little debris striking the planet. Earth’s thick atmosphere tends to burn up most of the size of an asteroid, but that cannot be taken for granted.”

Actually, the billions of people who go about their ordinary business every day without worrying about meteors show that yes, our relative safety from menacing asteroids can be taken for granted.

3 comments to Danger! Asteroids Are Not Blowing Up Like Nuclear Bombs!

  • Ive often wondered if we know how the atmosphere defeats these large meteors is it possible to recreate this stopping power?

  • Mark

    You always have to wonder about an article that begins with, “According to a study”, but then never cites the study.
    The author wasn’t very good with math, either. Between 2000 and 2013 the Earth has been hit by 26 large meteors. Um, that’s 2 per year, not 1 per month.

    That being said, I do believe it’s worth the time and effort for us to catalogue Near Earth Objects (NEOs). While the likelihood of being struck by a large asteroid is remote, the damage it would cause would be catastrophic. (Remember the dinosaurs – and that wasn’t even the largest object to strike Earth in the past half billion years) Think of the search as an insurance policy. With enough lead time (years to decades) we could divert an asteroid that we find is on an impact trajectory with the Earth.

  • Mark

    You also asked why we don’t see more of these.
    Consider that only about 1-2% of the Earth’s surface is inhabited. If there are 2 large meteors per year then there’s only a 2-4% chance that it will explode over an inhabited area. If clouds obscure the view then it further reduces the chance that people on the ground will observe the explosion.

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