Life

Averting Armageddon: Protecting Earth from Asteroid Impacts

  A series of studies have shown that the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period was about 10 kilometers in diameter. It fell in the area near the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico today, knocking out an asteroid with a diameter of 180 kilometers and a depth of 25 kilometers. A huge crater measuring thousands of meters. Today, the remains of this crater are buried deep underground in the area and are known as the Chicxulub Crater.
   According to scientists’ estimates, the impact was as powerful as the simultaneous explosion of 100 trillion tons of TNT, and the energy released was about 5 billion times that of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Such a violent impact instantly caused the entire earth to tremble; many dormant volcanoes were activated, spewing thick smoke and slurry; the ocean in the impact area set off huge waves, triggering an unprecedented thousand-meter-high tsunami; a large number of rock fragments It was also thrown high into the sky…
   This impact caused the extinction of about 70% of species on the earth, including dinosaurs.
   It is conceivable that if the earth is hit by such a degree again, the above-mentioned series of disasters will still happen again, and human civilization will probably be destroyed as a result.
   Therefore, the best way for mankind to respond is to prevent tragedies from happening – to prevent such asteroids from hitting the earth. Fortunately, science and technology now have such capabilities.
   Based on mankind’s current observation capabilities, if there is such an asteroid whose orbit tends to hit the Earth, it will be discovered near the orbit of Jupiter. This means that humans have sufficient time to change its motion state.
   For example, we can launch an unmanned spacecraft with a larger mass to physically impact it, thereby deflecting its orbit to a certain extent. If it doesn’t work once, we can hit it multiple times. If necessary, we can even launch a thermonuclear bomb to blow it directly out of its current orbit.
   If you have enough time, you can also consider a more gentle method, such as landing an unmanned probe on an asteroid, fixing a thruster on the surface of the asteroid, and using the thrust of the thruster to slowly deviate from its original orbit; You can also coat the surface of the asteroid with a large amount of reflective material, and use the “light pressure” generated by sunlight to gradually “push” it out of its current orbit.
   Fortunately, observational data show that at least within the next 100 years, there will be no asteroid of the kind that wiped out the dinosaurs will hit the earth.

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