It's one thing to hear about the cataclysmic dangers of a strike from a meteorite or comet, but it's another thing entirely to see such destruction so close to home.
To clarify the potential consequences of the cosmic game of dodge ball our planet regularly plays with Near Earth Objects (NEOs), the aptly-titled Killer Asteroids Project (funded by the National Science Foundation and NASA) has developed an interactive tool that lets you see first-hand what would happen to your location after an asteroid or comet strike. For the asteroid, you can choose the size — from school bus-sized to one more than a mile wide. Comets offer even more destructive choices, with one 360-feet wide to a mass extinction monster of more than 31,000 feet in width. You then press the GO button and watch in despair as your location (or some other landmark) is placed in the crosshairs. You'll then be given a radius of the destruction, from the size of the crater to the coverage of first-degree burns.
Interest in this particular site has grown in the wake of Earth's near-miss last Sunday from an asteroid roughly measuring 60 feet across — a size very similar to the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia last year.
"By detecting and tracking nearly all of the Near Earth Objects greater than 50 meters in diameter, Sentinel will create a map of the solar system in Earth’s neighborhood enabling future robotic and manned exploration," the site states. "The Sentinel data will also identify objects that are potentially hazardous to humans to provide an early warning to protect the Earth from impact."
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