June 30 is Asteroid Day, a global awareness effort to promote asteroids and discussion around what can be done to protect our planet from impacts, but there may be a more likely natural threat.
While an asteroid impact with Earth may make for great drama in the movies, no human in the past 1,000 years is known to have been killed by a meteorite or by the effects of one impacting our planet, according to NASA. That is just one reason Robert Mohr, Ph.D., instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Physics, says energies might be better spent on the super volcano under Yellowstone.
“If the Yellowstone super volcano erupts, it will take out anywhere from 20-30 percent of the continent,” Mohr said. “And the effects will be felt basically everywhere in the United States and in places beyond, potentially for years.”
Aside from giant asteroid strikes, super volcanoes are considered to be the most devastating of all natural disasters. Super volcanoes have been known to cause mass extinctions and long-term climate changes.
he last known super volcano eruption, believed to have occurred around 70,000 years ago on the site of today’s Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia, caused a “volcanic winter” that blocked out the sun for six to eight years.
The super volcano that erupted in Wyoming 600,000 years ago, in what is now Yellowstone National Park, ejected more than 1,000 cubic meters of lava and ash into the atmosphere — enough to bury a large city several kilometers deep. By comparison, the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, which caused a 0.4 degree drop in average global temperature for the following year, was 100 times less forceful than the Yellowstone eruption.
“A Yellowstone eruption would alter life as we know it for a long time,” Mohr said. “Sunlight would be blocked for long periods of time, which would affect crop growth and food supply. Preparing for something like that, which is a lot closer to a likelihood than an asteroid’s hitting Earth, would seem to me to be more prudent.”
NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth. In fact, as far as the agency can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years. To be able to better calculate the statistics and narrow down concrete possibilities, astronomers need to detect as many of the near-Earth objects as possible — an exercise that is quite hard to achieve with asteroids.
Mohr knows some will disagree with the notion that a super volcano is a more worrisome threat, and he admits it would be “nice to know” if an asteroid were heading straight for us. But he says the likelihood of discovering any asteroid far ahead of impact is quite small.
“There is no easy way to find an asteroid,” he said. “It’s not like looking for Easter eggs in a defined yard. There’s a whole bunch of sky, and you’re looking for something extremely small and that doesn’t really give off a whole lot of light, so it doesn’t show itself well. Where the asteroid is going to be in the sky and the odds of your actually being able to take a telescope, point it at the asteroid and pick it out with all the other stuff you’re going to see in the telescope are very, very low — even if it’s right there.”
The Latest on: Asteroid
via Google News
The Latest on: Asteroid
- Next stop Earth: Hayabusa2 bids farewell to asteroid Ryuguon November 14, 2019 at 6:25 am
The Hayabusa2 spacecraft is heading home after performing a series of risky and unprecedented manoeuvres on its six-year mission to asteroid Ryugu. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) ...
- NASA Warns Of 2-Mile-Wide Planet-Killer Asteroid Headed For Earthon November 13, 2019 at 8:41 pm
NASA warned that an asteroid capable of destroying the planet will have a near-collision with Earth in the next couple of years. According to the agency, the approaching object has been labeled as a ...
- Hayabusa-2 Returning To Earth With Piece Of Ryugu Asteroidon November 13, 2019 at 6:43 pm
After spending over a year with the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, Japan’s Hayabusa-2 probe is getting ready to end its mission. The probe is expected to return to Earth carrying valuable samples taken ...
- Japan’s asteroid probe is headed back to Earth, and it’s carrying precious cargoon November 13, 2019 at 3:51 pm
The Japanese space program JAXA has accomplished a lot in 2019. After successfully guiding its asteroid probe Hayabusa2 to the space rock known as Ryugu in late 2018, the team of scientists working on ...
- Japan's Hayabusa2 spacecraft leaves asteroid and begins return trip to Earthon November 13, 2019 at 2:40 pm
Japan's Hayabusa2 craft just left the asteroid Ryugu and is headed back to Earth. The craft has been helping Japan's Space Agency, JAXA, study the solar system's origins. In April 2019, it got close ...
- After visiting asteroid, Japan’s Hayabusa 2 probe heads back to Earth with sampleson November 13, 2019 at 1:43 pm
An image from Hayabusa 2’s camera shows the half-mile-wide, diamond-shaped asteroid known as Ryugu receding in the metaphorical rear-view mirror. (JAXA, Chiba Institute of Technology and Collaborators ...
- NASA was forced to rename an asteroid because of Nazison November 13, 2019 at 11:33 am
They were, of course, nazis. Needless to say, linking a far-away asteroid to hate mongers wasn’t exactly what NASA had in mind, and the New Horizons team quickly took it upon themselves to come up ...
- Japan spacecraft starts yearlong journey home from asteroidon November 13, 2019 at 10:02 am
A Japanese spacecraft left a distant asteroid on Wednesday, starting its yearlong journey home after successfully completing its mission to gather soil samples and data that could provide clues to the ...
- Farewell, Ryugu! Japan's Hayabusa2 Probe Leaves Asteroid for Journey Homeon November 13, 2019 at 8:46 am
Japan's enterprising asteroid-sampling spacecraft began they journey home Tuesday (Nov. 12), packed full of precious space rocks that scientists can't wait to get their hands on. Mission controllers ...
- See the 4 Sites Where a NASA Spacecraft May 'Tag' Asteroid Bennu Next Year (Photos)on November 13, 2019 at 7:00 am
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will "tag" asteroid Bennu at one of four potential sites next year. Bennu's rocky surface poses a number of unique challenges for OSIRIS-REx, which launched to the far-off ...
via Bing News