Devastating asteroid hitting the Earth more likely than previously thought: scientist
Don’t look up.
A top NASA scientist is warning that the threat of a massive asteroid striking Earth is much more fearsome than previously thought to be.
In the words of James Garvin, chief scientist of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, “it would be in the range of serious crap happening.”
Garvin — who presented new research on the matter at Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in the Woodlands, Texas — has strong concerns that previous impact sites actually stretched tens of kilometers further than believed, Science.org reported.
He also speculates each event of impact was substantially more violent as well. They may have been 10 times more destructive than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated,
according to the outlet.
“Such topographic data permits reassessment of the role of such impacts in recent Earth history and presents implications for Planetary Defense,” the new report reads.
New high resolution imagery had been used to study the four craters made in the past million years — Pantasma in Nicaragua, Bosumtwi in Ghana, Iturralde in Bolivia and Zhamanshin in Kazakhstan — in efforts to map them in three dimensions.
Then an algorithm that Garvin used for Mars surface research had been applied to determine more about the craters’ topography.
It frequently identified a rim-like region much further away than what was previously interpreted as the center of impact.
The Pantasma crater expanded from 14.8 kilometers to 35.2 under these circumstances.
Still, some in the scientific community aren’t ready to cast a sequel to “Armageddon.”
“Those features are so subtle that I don’t think they say ‘big structural rim,’” Gordon Osinski, a planetary scientist at Western University, said.
Brandon Johnson, a planetary scientist of Purdue University, pontificates that the extensions could just be debris caused by the impacts, per Science.org.
Though, Garvin said that “on Earth, things get messy, particularly when you throw a lot of energy at it,” implying that such debris wouldn’t be so clearly visible after a million years of erosion.