A large asteroid packing the wallop of a nuclear bomb is heading toward Earth on Monday, traveling at a speed at about 4-miles-per-second.
The good news is that NASA asteroid tracker says that it probably will miss us.
The bad news is that 2017 XC62 is estimated to be at least 623 feet long, similar to the Tunguska asteroid, which didn’t.
Apparently the size of the Washington Monument, impact on the Earth could be devastating – worse than most nuclear devices.
The last time a large asteroid struck the Earth was in 2013 in Russia, when a 17-meter asteroid exploded in the atmosphere. It was scary, but took place in a remote region.
However, the previous asteroid strike on the planet of this size came in 1908, also in Russia, was called the Tunguska event that crashed hard, it produced a massive 12 megaton explosion, causing widespread destruction for thousands of miles. It was 800 times more powerful than the “Little Boy” nuke detonated during World War II over Hiroshima, and 600 times more than “Fat Man,” detonated over Nagasaki three days later in Japan.
It is largely unknown what the death toll was. But the damage was still evident, with about 80 million trees completely flattened by winds of around 27 kilometers per second. Tremors and airwaves were even felt as far away as Washington and Indonesia.
Eyewitness accounts recalled a terrifying explosion, strong winds and tremors.
“The sky split in two and fire appeared high and wide over the forest,” recounted a man who was about 65 kilometers south of the explosion, according to the Jerusalem Post.
“The split in the sky grew larger, and the entire northern side was covered with fire,” he said, according to the report. “At that moment I became so hot that I couldn’t bear it as if my shirt was on fire; from the northern side, where the fire was, came strong heat. I wanted to tear off my shirt and throw it down, but then the sky shut closed, and a strong thump sounded, and I was thrown a few meters. I lost my senses for a moment, but then my wife ran out and led me to the house.
“After that such noise came, as if rocks were falling or cannons were firing; the Earth shook, and when I was on the ground, I pressed my head down, fearing rocks would smash it,” he said. “When the sky opened up, hot wind raced between the houses, like from cannons, which left traces in the ground like pathways, and it damaged some crops. Later we saw that many windows were shattered, and in the barn, a part of the iron lock snapped.”
If 2017 XC62 hit, it could cause something similar.
According to research from the Davidson Institute of Science, the educational arm of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, an asteroid over 140 meters in diameter would release an amount of energy at least a thousand times greater than the energy released by the first atomic bomb if it impacted Earth. Something even larger – over 300 meters wide – could destroy an entire continent. An asteroid over a kilometer in width could trigger a worldwide cataclysm, possibly an extinction event.
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