Asteroid Explosion Over Indonesia

On October 8, 2009 an asteroid began entering the Earth’s atmosphere somewhere over Indonesia. At a width of 10 meters, it rocketed towards the surface at a speed of 72,000 kilometres an hour. It never made the ground. When the asteroid hit the protective shield that is our atmosphere, the asteroid suddenly began to decelerate. This resulted in the asteroid beginning to heat up rapidly and moments later it exploded in a fiery ball in the atmosphere with the force of 50,000 tons of TNT.

Atmospheric Explosions

Asteroid Explosion (Click to enlarge)

This of course has made the news around the world and scientists are concerned that this incoming asteroid was never seen by telescopes before it exploded.

Of course this is a concern for them but hardly surprising. At the current date there is no way to track each and every asteroid that is up there that could at some stage head straight towards Earth. And even if we do see an incoming asteroid…… what would the next step be? We have no means at the moment to do anything about it and the powers to be complain that it would take billions of dollars to just get to a stage to track these hazards…. let alone done do anything about them.

When you look at the Moon the next time the clouds clear over Sydney, you will see the Moon littered with craters. There are in fact three hundred thousand impact craters on the Moon  which are greater than 0.96 kilometres in width. Now over the millions of years that these craters have been formed, each and every one of these craters are still visible on the moon due to the lack of air and water which cause erosion.

Now would it be surprising to know that the Earth has actually experienced more asteroid and comet impacts than the moon has……erosion has covered up most of the evidence of that.  This is because the Earth has a far more powerful gravitational pull than the Moon has.

Not to forget now that the planet Jupiter, being the largest planet in our system, has a huge gravitational pull ….. and thanks to Jupiter we have being spared countless impacts over the past.

So earlier this month this asteroid has slipped through and exploded high over Indonesia. It needs to be remembered that our planet already has a defence against asteroids….. it is called the atmosphere. And the atmosphere did it’s job with the Indonesian Asteroid….. it resulted in the asteroid blowing up before it could do any damage.  And it has being doing a great job over the years in protecting us from rocks and debris coming at us from outer space.

But one day, most likely way in our far distant future, there will be a large asteroid coming….. and we should probably make plans for what we are going to do when that time comes.

~ by sydneystargazers on October 28, 2009.

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