Despite the fact that many people really are afraid of falling on our planet of a giant asteroidthat will destroy us like the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, the probability of destruction of civilization from hitting the Ground of another celestial body is extremely small. If you speak very precisely, according to the counting of American experts raveesha 1 to 280 000. But even these figures do not make such a scenario impossible, so the knowledge of how to repel such a threat clearly does not hurt anyone. So, according to a study published in the journal Icarus, a severe blow to the asteroid may break, but not destroy it. Does this mean that the fall of the asteroid cannot be stopped? Let’s deal.
I’m sure many of you remember the movie Armageddon, in which the main role was played by Bruce Willis. According to the story, the Earth is approaching a huge asteroid, therefore, assembled a brave team, which was to save humanity from destruction. As a result, the heroes went straight to the asteroid and blew it up. The film, traditionally, ended well, but is this development really? A new study suggests that mankind may have to come up with even more incredible way of destroying the asteroid, so as to make it very difficult.
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In the study, the scientists used information on the processes of destruction of rocks, as well as improved computer code for the simulation of what happens if to hit the asteroid with something big. The researchers wanted to understand how much energy it takes to actually destroy the asteroid, breaking it into pieces. It turns out that the answer to this question is that asteroids are much stronger than we think, and for their complete destruction would require an enormous amount of energy.
A two-step process
Simulations conducted by experts, have allowed to study the consequences of a collision with an asteroid using a “hybrid” approach, which focuses on two different phases of the attack with the use of two different types of computer code. The researchers found that during both the first and second phase of the collision upon impact, the asteroid will not break. Instead, the initial impact leads to the appearance of millions of internal cracks, and the region closest to the impact, in fact, will flow like the sand, allowing to form the crater. But these cracks do not destroy the asteroid.
The obtained results differ significantly from previous studies in the early 2000-ies, in which scientists faked an identical collision. In the latter study, a larger body was completely destroyed. In some previous works according to specialists, were not taken into account small scale processes on the asteroid during the initial collision. The authors argue that since cracks spread across the asteroid with limited speed, they will not be able to destroy the asteroid as easy as previously thought.
More than just movie magic
The work also has applications to future missions for the extraction of material from the asteroids. The fact that the material that broke away during a collision, will eventually be scattered on the surface of the asteroid — and it potentially opens the inner wealth of a celestial object for easier access to them. Although a new study shows that the explosion in the Hollywood style will not save the Earth from the asteroid, scientists have all the necessary data to answer the complex question of how to destroy a huge asteroid, in case it is still close to us.