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Who's Next?

We recently had a close call, and it turns out that the UK is one of the most vulnerable places on Earth, when it comes to an impact from a space rock. Experts there have created a chart showing which countries are most likely to suffer severe loss of life or catastrophic damage if a large asteroid hits the earth.

They have decided that the most vulnerable countries are Brazil, Britain, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, the Philippines and the US. The countries on the list are highly populated nations, where an impact would mean millions of deaths.

In the International Business Times, Anissa Haddadi quotes researcher Nick Bailey as saying, "The threat of Earth being hit by an asteroid is increasingly being accepted as the single greatest natural disaster hazard faced by humanity. The consequences for human populations and infrastructure as a result of an impact are enormous."

Scientists think that an asteroid impact 65 million years ago caused the extinction of the dinosaurs. When a rock 10 miles in diameter hit the Earth at 25,000 mph, it had the force of one Hiroshima bomb. We're somewhat protected from this happening again--first by the moon (which absorbs many of the blows coming at us from space) and secondly by Jupiter's gravitational field, which tends to push them away.

We don't expect an impact to kill US off--we're more likely to die of NEGLECT! Have Whitley and Anne fended off so many attacks over the years, only to die from neglect today? Don't let that happen: Subscribe today!

This is wrong. An Asteroid/Comet that is 10 miles in size would destroy the Earth. An asteroid/comet 1 mile in size would cause devastating damages to the planet that we would not be able to recover from. I think you meant or the source meant to say that an asteroid/comet that is 10 miles would be the equivalent to 1,000 Hiroshima bombs. The Kinetic Energy from a 6 Mile wide asteroid/comet would be 100 (million megatons of TNT). Research this please. This is very important information to be accurate to show the real threat from even an asteroid/comet 1 mile in diameter....

Mmm. The original source says: that scientists think "... a rock up to 10 miles in diameter hit Earth at 25,000 an hour with a force of 100 megatons, the equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb for everyone on the planet." Note the "up to 10 miles in diameter" and "one Hiroshima bomb for everyone on the planet." I guess that means about 7 billion Hiroshima bombs, then!

A quick search around the web indicates that estimates for the size of the asteriod that crashed into Earth, creating the Chicxulub Crater and (probably) causing the K-T Extinction Event must have been between six and twelve miles wide. One source I read says that "The asteroid would have to have been at least that large to cause global disruptions." ( )

I'm no expert, but I believe there's a big difference between being hit by an asteroid (rocky body) and a comet (tiny nucleus, mostly frozen water and gas) because of their relative differences in mass, velocity and kinetic energy. My understanding is that despite being less dense size-for-size, a comet would probably cause more damage because of its far higher approach speed - the amount of kinetic energy released would outweigh that released by an asteroid of similar dimensions (notwithstanding other things that make a difference, such as angle of impact, whether impacting on land or in the ocean, etc).

But whichever way it's looked at, ANY object above a certain critical mass hitting Earth from space is going to cause massive destruction, either on a regional or global scale. I just hope it never happens in our lifetimes!

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