Simulate the Damage Caused by Comet and Asteroid Collisions with Impact: Earth!

impact earthOn Fri­day, the world had its eyes focused on the big aster­oid fly­by. For weeks, we knew it was com­ing, and we watched it buzz by with mild curios­i­ty. But, that same day, we were all caught off guard by a ten-ton mete­orite that blast­ed into the Siber­ian town of Chelyabin­sk, injur­ing 1,200 peo­ple and caus­ing con­sid­er­able struc­tur­al dam­age. (Watch footage here.) This abrupt and unex­pect­ed event has giv­en gov­ern­ments a rea­son to start tak­ing the risk of aster­oid impacts a bit more seri­ous­ly. And it might renew inter­est in a tool cre­at­ed by sci­en­tists at Pur­due Uni­ver­si­ty and Impe­r­i­al Col­lege Lon­don in 2010.

In a nut­shell, Impact: Earth! is an inter­ac­tive tool that lets any­one cal­cu­late the dam­age a comet or aster­oid would cause if it hap­pened to col­lide with our plan­et. You can cus­tomize the size and speed of the incom­ing object, and then find out if mankind sur­vives. (Usu­al­ly it does.) A grainy primer appears below. You can enter the web­site and start run­ning your own sce­nar­ios right here.

via @moseshawk

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.