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  Comet and Asteroid: Astronomy: Comet and Asteroid - THE RISK OF IMPACT
Posted on Wednesday, December 01 @ 15:24:05 CST by astronomy
 
 
  Comet and Asteroid

THE RISK OF IMPACT

Asteroids that remain in the main belt pose no threat to us. However, we know of some 200 asteroids with orbits that cross tlie orbit of Earth, and there are probably 10 times that number we do not know about, as well as an undetermined number of comets. Any of these objects could collide with our planet.



THE RISK OF IMPACT

Asteroids that remain in the main belt pose no threat to us. However, we know of some 200 asteroids with orbits that cross tlie orbit of Earth, and there are probably 10 times that number we do not know about, as well as an undetermined number of comets. Any of these objects could collide with our planet.

The threat of an impact is real. Earth already bears the scars of previous collisions. Meteor Crater is a 1 mile (1.6 km) diameter crater in northern Arizona, made 50,000 years ago by a piece of nickel-iron just 100 feet (30 m) wide. As recently as 1908, an object—possibly a 100,000 ton asteroid— collided with Earth, exploding at an altitude of about 6 miles (10 km) with the force of a 20 to 30 megaton nuclear bomb. The explosion occurred largely over uninhabited Siberian forest, but had the asteroid landed in a densely populated area, the impact would have been catastrophic.

 
 
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