Reply to post: Re: Alister

Laser-zapping scientists will save the Earth from meteorite destruction

Alister Silver badge

Re: Alister

@TechnicalBen

I think the question is, why were they near misses? If totally avoiding the problem is Sci-Fi, what can we do that is realistic to keep them down to near misses.

Sadly, the nearest anyone can get to a reason why they were near misses is that they broke up before hitting the ground.

Partially a function of their mass, size and shape, but also of their composition, initial entry speed and angle. The Chelyabinsk meteor had an estimated size of about 20 metres diameter, that of Tunguska was of the order of 60 to 190 metres long and 10 metres across. In both cases they entered the atmosphere at very high speed and a low angle of attack.

I can see no way that humans can engineer these circumstances with any reliability within a sensible timescale.

Besides. If we can track them, we can know where they will hit. What is the most reliable way to avoid danger then? Fire lasers and hope for the best, or evacuate the town/city in the path?

I think you don't really have a grasp of the enormity of the effects should an event similar to Tunguska occur in a populated area. In the original event the trees, to a large extent, contained the blast, and minimized the dust cloud that was formed.

Even then, there were widespread climate and weather disruptions for months afterwards. If a similar event happened over a city, the planet would probably go dark for weeks due to the dust and rubble thrown into the atmosphere, and that's still talking about an airburst event.

Should a Tunguska sized meteor actually touchdown, then whichever country it hit would be mostly wiped out - note I said country, not town, or city.

The Tunguska blast was estimated to be about 15 megatons or equivalent to roughly 1,000 Hiroshimas.

There is no way that we could effectively evacuate the whole target area of an impact event like that.

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