Will humans die in this scenario?
If say, a gigantic meteor, like the one that made the dinosaurs extinct, was about to hit Earth, how would we get rid of it? Blow it up with nukes? or do humans all die?
- This question was recently addressed on either a Discovery Channel or Sci channel program. The general consensus is that it would need to be deflected to alter its course rather than "blown up." However if one did indeed make impact there would be many deaths and perhaps a drastic change in the planet similar to that of what is believed to have happened years ago.00
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- Even if an asteroid of that size hit the earth, I think humans will survive. Our number will be greatly reduced, but we'll survive. The asteroid responsible for the KT extinction event killed about 60% of all life on earth, I"m sure some of us will manage to squeeze into that 40% that survived.00
- In your scenario, humans would die.
The only solution is deflection.
When something that big hits, it is not so much the collision itself that causes the problem, but the kinetic energy of the colliding body being transformed into energy (mostly as heat).
If something really big was to hit Earth, the released energy would melt the entire crust, sterilizing everything.
If you simply break it apart, in the hope of having many small collisions instead of one big one, you would get less mechanical shock from the collisions. However, since the same mass falls in and gets stopped by Earth (whether by the ground or the atmosphere), then the same amount of energy gets released.
Our goose is still cooked.
Fortunately, if something that big was coming our way, we would have seen it a lot time ago.
For example, there is an asteroid that will make a close pass in 2048. It was discovered in 2007 (as implied in its very poetic name: 2007 VK184). This means that we spotted this 130 metre asteroid (400 feet across) forty-one years before its close pass.
At 130 m, it is certainly too small to destroy us, even though it would ruin the day of many people (like a whole town, maybe) if it did hit.
From that, I suppose that something as big as what is needed for you scenario would be found at least 100 years ahead of time. With that much of a head start, we would only need a small deflection to make it miss.00
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