Could an asteroid ever completely destroy the Earth?

(ORDO NEWS) — Meteorites and asteroids periodically fall to Earth. The last fairly large and memorable event took place in Chelyabinsk in 2013. Of course, in the history of our planet there have been much more serious disasters.

For example, one of the asteroids about 66 million years ago (and possibly two asteroids at once) caused a mass extinction, in particular, it was for this reason that all non-avian dinosaurs died out. The diameter of that asteroid was about 10 kilometers.

After its impact on the surface of the planet, tsunamis and fires arose, volcanoes erupted, and a number of other disasters occurred. However, even after such a powerful collision, the planet remained intact, and even life survived.

But can an asteroid completely destroy the Earth, for example, if it is much larger than the asteroid that destroyed the dinosaurs?

In the history of our planet, there has already been a situation when it collided with a large body – a whole planet the size of Mars. We are talking about Theia, a “rogue planet” that crashed into the Earth 4.5 billion years ago.

What did it lead to? As you can see, our planet is in place, alive and well. However, as a result of a powerful impact, debris was thrown into space, which subsequently formed the moon.

Mars has a diameter of 6,700 kilometers and is 500 times the size of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs. Presumably, the same size was the planet Theia, which crashed into the Earth 4.5 billion years ago.

Instead of destroying our planet, part of the mantle and even the core of Theia mixed with the surface of the Earth, and remained here forever. True, scientists cannot say whether the collision occurred tangentially or was head-on.

But, in any case, even the planet did not cause the destruction of the Earth. It is possible that much depends on the composition of the celestial body. But even a very hard and durable asteroid is unlikely to destroy the planet.

However, there is no doubt that Theia or another similar object, if it crashed into the Earth now, would destroy all life.

Fortunately, at the time when the catastrophe happened, there was no life on the planet yet. According to scientists, it originated 4.4 billion years ago, that is, several million years after the collision with Theia.

We regularly hear from the news that one or another potentially dangerous asteroid flew a short distance from the Earth. But how likely is it that someday an asteroid will crash into our planet and, if not destroy it, then destroy life?

NASA considers any space object dangerous if its diameter exceeds 140 meters, while it is located at a distance of no more than 7.4 million kilometers. In the event of its collision with our planet, it will be able to destroy an entire large city.

And if the diameter of the asteroid is 1 km or even more, then its fall will certainly lead to global climate disasters. Most likely this will provoke the end of civilization.

Therefore, if in our time an asteroid crashed into the Earth, which destroyed the dinosaurs, humanity would die.

After its collision with the planet, the sky would be covered with dust and poisonous gases, as a result of which plants would not be able to receive sunlight for photosynthesis.

As scientists recently found out, after the fall of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, the “nuclear winter” lasted two years.

Therefore, NASA, like other space agencies, takes the threat from space seriously and closely monitors all potentially dangerous objects in the solar system.

Fortunately, nothing threatens the Earth in the near future, as we talked about earlier. At the same time, NASA is even testing a “defense system” against asteroids.

Recall that on September 26, the DART spacecraft crashed into the asteroid Dimorphos. Scientists suggest that in this way it will be possible to change the trajectory of dangerous asteroids.

Fortunately, Dimorphos does not threaten the Earth, but its collision with a spacecraft allows scientists to understand how viable this technology for protecting the Earth is. After all, sooner or later some of the asteroids will seriously threaten our planet.

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