This asteroid impact simulator allows you to destroy the world

This asteroid impact simulator allows you to destroy the world

This asteroid impact simulator allows you to destroy the world

I aimed a 1,500-foot iron asteroid traveling at 38,000 miles per hour with a 45-degree impact angle at Gizmodo's Midtown, Manhattan office.

I aimed a 1,500-foot iron asteroid traveling at 38,000 miles per hour with a 45-degree impact angle at Gizmodo’s Midtown, Manhattan office.
Screenshot: Gizmodo/Neal.Fun

Hundreds of thousands of asteroids lurk in our solar system, and while space agencies track many of them, there is always the chance that one will suddenly appear on a collision course with Earth. A new app on the website Neal.nice shows what could happen if someone hit any part of the planet.

Neal Agarwal developed Asteroid Simulator to show the potentially extreme local effects of different kinds of asteroids. The first step is choosing your asteroid, with a choice of iron, rock, carbon and gold, or even an icy comet. The diameter of the asteroid can be set up to 1 mile (1.6 kilometers); the speed can range from 1,000 to 250,000 miles per hour; and the impact angle can be adjusted up to 90 degrees. Once you’ve selected an attack location on a world map, prepare for chaos.

“I grew up watching disaster movies like Deep consequences and Armageddon, and so I always wanted to create a tool that would allow me to visualize my own asteroid impact scenarios,” Agarwal told Gizmodo in an email. “I think this tool is for anyone who likes to play out ‘what if’ scenarios in their head. The math and physics behind the simulation is based on research papers from Dr. Gareth Collins and Dr Clemens Hull both of whom study asteroid impacts.”

Once you’ve programmed the asteroid and launched it at the desired target, Asteroid Simulator will guide you through the devastation. First, it shows you the width and depth of the crater, the number of people vaporized by the impact, and how much energy was released. It will then walk you through the size and effects of the fireball, shock wave, wind speed, and earthquake generated by the asteroid.

NASA has its eye on more than 19,000 near-Earth asteroids. While no known space rock poses an immediate threat to Earth, events such as the 2013 Chelyabinsk impact in Russia remind us of the need for robust planetary defenses. This year, NASA tested another one asteroid deflection strategy via its DART spacecraftto a resounding success.



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