[FoRK] Asteroid has chance of hitting Earth in 2029

Jeffrey Kay jeff at k2.com
Sun Dec 26 14:30:47 PST 2004

As posted on the Lone Star Times [1].  This has been pretty well 
reported, and likely already posted on FoRK (sorry, didn't do the 
search), but I got a laugh out of a couple of things.  First, there's 
the link to [2], which calculates the effects of impact for a given 
object.  And, of course, I was also very entertained by the comments 
about an impact in Tehran.

-- jeff

[1] http://www.lonestartimes.com/index.php?id=0,1227,0,0,1,0
[2] http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/~marcus/crater2.html

> Asteroid has chance of hitting Earth in 2029
> Matt_Bramanti
> Friday the 13th has an ominous meaning for some people. Friday, April 
> 13, 2029 might have an ominious meaning for everyone. That's when 
> a 1,300-foot asteroid known as 2004 MN4 could hit the Earth:
>  NASA has issued its highest threat warning giving asteroid "2004 MN4" 
> a rating of four on the 10-point Torino Scale used to rate 
> intergalactic threats. The highest previous rating has been one.
> The Torino Scale was set up by the International Astronomical Union 
> after concern at too many cases of "crying wolf", where potentially 
> dangerous asteroids were later shown to pose no risk to Earth.
> Although the risk from 2004 MN4 was likely to be refined with further 
> measurements, it had already been under observation for 187 days so 
> astronomers were quite confident of their predictions.
> It should be noted that the most recent calculations show only a 2.2% 
> probability of an impact. In other words, the odds are 45-to-1 that 
> we'll be just fine.
> But just in case, you might want to ask the IRS for an extension on 
> your 2028 tax return. No sense in going to the trouble if April 15 
> isn't going to happen, right?
> Update: I did a few calculations to find out what would happen. Just 
> for kicks, lets assume the point of impact is...oh, I don't know. How 
> about Tehran:
> The asteroid would break up in the atmosphere, showering pieces over 
> an area 3/5 of a mile wide by 4/5 of a mile long. The resulting crater 
> would be more than 3.5 miles wide and nearly 1/3 of a mile deep. Here 
> in Houston, no seismic activity would be felt. But in Tehran, the 
> resulting overpressure from the shockwave would collapse multistory 
> buildings for 25 miles in every direction, break windows 75 miles 
> away, and effectively end the Islamic Revolution in the Tehran 
> metropolitan area.

jeffrey kay
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