Thursday, December 13, 2012

The damage Toutatis would cause if it struck Earth

If the asteroid Toutatis were to hit planet Earth, the aftermath would be catastrophic. The asteroid that ended-it-all for the dinosaurs was 6-miles wide. At 3-miles wide, Toutatis is half the size of the rock that killed off the dinosaurs.

Experts say that an impact from Toutatis could possibly end civilization as we know it. Even an asteroid 0.6 miles wide would cause severe global damage. Don't panic though, experts are fairly confident that Toutatis will not hit the Earth for at least 600 years, if ever.

Calculate the potential damage yourself by using the asteroid damage calculator: Impact: Earth

Set the diameter to 2.45 km (Toutatis is 3-miles wide, but 2.45 km for the diameter would be equal to its overall volume. )

Set the density to dense rock (Toutatis has a varying spectrum of density, due to this, scientists believe that Toutatis may be made up of several smaller asteroids.)

Set the velocity to 7 m/s or so (Toutatis was observed traveling at around 24,000 mph, convert that into miles per second and you get 6-7 m/s.)

The other parameters you can just play around with.

As I ran the simulator, I kinda came out thinking that Toutatis would probably cause more damage than what the simulator calculates. Since Toutatis is shaped like a peanut, has a weird orbit, tumbles like a football, and has varying density, I think the consequences of an impact would be species-ending.