Scientists have calculated that roughly 51,000 meteorites strike the earth each year. However, most of them are unnoticed and undetected because they're so small and our planet is so large. It's thought that between 90 and 95 percent of all meteors burn up in our atmosphere and never hit the ground.
Things start to get unpleasant when the bigger ones show up.
On February 15, 2013, a meteor the size of a six-story building exploded 18.5 miles up in the sky. It's called the Chelyabinsk meteor, and the explosion scattered countless meteorites across a wide area. The shock wave from the meteor was the equivalent of a 500-kiloton explosion. It shattered glass, damaged buildings and injured approximately 1,600 people.
We had no idea it was coming.
Russian Meteor 15-02-2013 (Best Shots)
On June 30, 1908, an even larger meteor exploded over the Tunguska River, flattening 2,000 square kilometers of forest. Fortunately, the location was very remote. If it had struck a major city, millions could have died.
The Tunguska Event | Fascinating Horror
At around 7:17am of the 30th of June 1908 near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Siberia, Russia a gigantic explosion took place. The force of the blast flattened around 80 million trees, and cleared an area more than 2,100 square kilometres (800 square miles) in size. For many years after this devastating impact, the true cause of the blast remained entirely unknown.
The mother of all impact events happened a little over 66 million years ago on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. An asteroid 6.2 miles in diameter struck the earth, creating mega tsunamis hundreds of feet tall and a shock wave that flattened everything for hundreds of miles around. When it hit the ground, molten rock flew into the air causing wildfires around the world. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions were triggered, and a mass extinction where 75% of all plant and animal species died off.
Watch What Happened 10 Minutes After the Dinosaurs Disappeared
So what happened after the asteroid hit the Earth 66 years ago? The cosmic monster falling toward the Earth was the size of Mount Everest. At least 6 miles wide and weighing 460 trillion tons, the meteor was coming in hot…and fast. 12 miles per second, heading right for the Yucatan Peninsula in present-day Mexico. At that speed, it could travel from LA to New York in under 4 minutes!
Fortunately, the likelihood of something like that happening is extremely rare. An impact that leveled a city would cause extreme regional disruptions, and you would prepare the same way you would for any disaster. But if a giant object hits, there's very little you could do.
An Extinction Level Asteroid Impact With Neil deGrasse Tyson
An extinction level event from an asteroid impact is among the most common cause of extinction for many species in the history of life on Earth. Neil deGrasse Tyson explains in detail the possibility of an asteroid impact from the asteroid named Apophis after the ancient Egyptian deity who embodied chaos, its estimated diameter is between 1,115 and 1,214 feet. Additional observations cleared up the concern of a direct impact. Apophis is expected to pass close to Earth in 2029, 2036 and again in 2068.
This is what all those objects are called.
Comets are icy bodies that release gases as they pass close to the sun.
Asteroids are celestial objects orbiting the sun between 6 feet and 620 miles across.
Meteoroids are smaller bodies, typically pieces of asteroids or comets.
Meteors are meteoroids that enter the Earth's atmosphere.
Meteorites are meteors that hit the Earth's surface.
The best survival strategy is to monitor what's coming and move as far away from the impact zone as possible. However, that's impractical for the majority of the world's population. Until governments develop a way to deflect or destroy these dangerous objects, we have to hope we're lucky. You can learn more about what's headed our way with the resources below.
Planetary Defense Coordination Office
Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are asteroids and comets that orbit the Sun like the planets, but their orbits can bring them into Earth’s neighborhood - within 30 million miles of Earth’s orbit. Planetary defense is “applied planetary science” to address the NEO impact hazard.
Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS)
Jet Propulsion Laboratory - California Institute of Technology
CNEOS is NASA's center for computing asteroid and comet orbits and their odds of Earth impact.
International Asteroid Warning Network
IAWN was established (2013) as a result of the UN-endorsed recommendations for an international response to a potential NEO impact threat, to create an international group of organizations involved in detecting, tracking, and characterizing NEOs. The IAWN is tasked with developing a strategy using well-defined communication plans and protocols to assist Governments in the analysis of asteroid impact consequences and in the planning of mitigation responses.
Currently, IAWN includes members from Europe, Asia, South and North America.
Preparation - Survival
To handle the short-term disruptions, from a few days to a few weeks, these are the things you'll usually need.
One gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation. You can survive on as little as a quart a day, but that's the absolute minimum. Consider buying a heavy-duty filter so you can purify more water if you need to. I keep 5-gallon collapsible containers that I can fill and refill when the need arises.
At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. In areas prone to significant disruptions like earthquakes or hurricanes, you might want to consider a minimum 30-day food supply. Remember to get enough for anybody you think might be with you during the emergency. Many companies sell long-term shelf-stable foods in bulk.
Battery-powered or Hand-crank Radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with Tone Alert
Flashlight and a Solar/Hand Crank Lantern
First Aid Kit
Make sure you have pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives.
Use to signal for help.
To help filter contaminated air.
Plastic Sheeting and Duct Tape
To shelter in place.
Moist Towelettes, Garbage Bags and Plastic Ties
For personal sanitation.
Wrench or Pliers
To turn off utilities.
Manual Can Opener
Local Paper Maps
Cell Phone with Chargers and a Backup Battery
Solar Battery Charger
For phone, radio and flashlights.
For everyone ages two and above.
Soap, Hand Sanitizer, Disinfecting Wipes
To disinfect surfaces.
Prescription Eyeglasses and Contact Lens Solution
Infant Formula, Bottles, Diapers, Wipes and Diaper Rash Cream
Pet Food and Extra Water
For your pet.
Cash or Traveler's Checks
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container.
Sleeping Bag or Warm Blanket for Each Person
Complete Change of Clothing and Sturdy Shoes
Appropriate for your climate.
Matches in a Waterproof Container or Lighter with Fuel
Feminine Supplies and Personal Hygiene Items
Mess Kits, Paper Cups, Plates, Paper Towels and Plastic Utensils
Paper and Pencil
Books, Games, Puzzles or other Activities
Pepper spray, a taser, a handgun and ammunition are all things you might consider having on hand to protect yourself and your loved ones. If you have defensive items, make sure to learn how to use and maintain them before a crisis.
When supply chains break down, people will begin trading things instead of currency. So if you have extra alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, candy, batteries or lighters, you can use them to get things you might need.
This information is presented to make people aware of the larger world around them. If you can prepare for something as devastating as this, you're much more likely to be ready for smaller disruptions. Be aware and prepare.