Last night I was watching a show on the History Channel about the different ways the world will end and it wasn’t too surprising until I got to number four, asteroids. I have been a space junkie for sometime, the SETI program, and watching the night is fun and relaxing past time for me so the thoughts of an space object hitting the earth and causing havoc is no knew item.
It is thought, which I believe, that a asteroid killed off the dinosaurs when it slammed into the Yucatan Peninisula causing dust to block out the sun and freeze the planet. It is also not to far fetched to think that this type of event may happen again it might just be in our lifetime. During the show the date Friday April 13, 2029 was pointed out because of a NEO, near Earth object, will come so close to the Earth that is will actually pass in inside the planets communication satellites.
This asteroid named MN4 will come so close to the Earth that all of us are going to get a wake up call how fortunate we are to have made it this far with out being hammered by a big object. MN4 is roughly 320 meters wide and if it hit land it would destroy an area about the size of Texas and if it hit water the tsunamis would be larger than anything currently experienced. The destruction wouldn’t be enough to stop life on Earth but it would make it hard on the ones that survived.
The dust clouds would spread around the world making it hard to grow crops and drop temperatures; good thing MN4 isn’t going to hit the Earth on Friday April 13, 2029. Some people are saying though that when MN4 returns in 2035 is will impact but the experts are still saying it is to early to determine what the effects of Earth’s gravity will have on trajectory on MN4.
It may hit us or it may not but the fact remains that these types of encounters happen on a regular basis. Our planet is regularly hit by asteroids that range from golf ball sized to sotmehing as big a Volkswagen even though they are not in the news regularly; you can bet the closer MN4 gets to us it will be making the news like crazy. To get an idea how much the Earth is hit by asteroids we just need to look at the moon to see the millions of craters that appear on its battered surface.
The most visible crater on Earth is in Arizona which was created by an asteroid that wasn’t near the size of MN4. The power of asteriods just doesn’t come from its size but from the speed it is traveling; as speed increases the amount of energy that is released upon impact goes up dramatically. Ever heard of a two-by-four going through walls in high winds? Same principal just the speeds are thousands (maybe millions) of miles an hour instead of hundreds or in laymen’s terms, really darn fast.
I am pretty excited about this event and to be able to see the asteroid but it will look like a magnitude 3 star to the naked eye in the night sky and day light, it will only be moving really fast. MN4 won’t hit Earth anytime soon so don’t worry, yet.