It’s been depicted a million times in television, cinema, and video games – what would happen if an asteroid were to strike Earth? While scientists can break it down for you in a lecture, blog post, or scientific research study, none of those options are as exciting as watching it play out for yourself. And while there’s no way for you to be able to launch an asteroid at the Earth without ruing the day, the Neal.Fun asteroid launcher is a handy tool to visualize the effects.
This tool allows you to make your own asteroid and have it hit anywhere in the world. You can then see how nature and the impact area will be affected, how many individuals will be injured, and whether the world will end or not – you get the idea.
The Neal.Fun asteroid launcher considers all the different ways that an asteroid will affect an area where it lands. Not only will catastrophic events occur, even when a reasonably small asteroid lands somewhere, but it can affect parts of the world that are thousands of miles away.
The Neal.Fun asteroid launcher breaks down how these parts of the world will be impacted and tries to portray at least a semi-realistic picture of what would happen if the worst occurred. Let’s get into what you can do with this fun interactive tool.
Customizing Your Asteroid
The first thing you see when taking a look at the Neal.Fun asteroid launcher is that you can adjust four critical parts of the asteroid itself: the material the asteroid is made out of, its diameter, the speed at which it is approaching Earth, and the impact angle. Each one of these variables can mean the asteroid will have a very different effect on a particular area.
Some materials will burn up faster, while others won’t. The same goes for size – if an asteroid is small enough, it could burn up entirely and have no impact on the world.
Speed and the angle of impact also play crucial roles in determining what would happen with an asteroid. Contrary to what you might believe, the slower the asteroid, the more damage it might do to an area – especially if it’s made of a heavier material.
A good example of this can be seen with bullets – the AK-47 fires a large, heavy bullet of a 7.62 mm caliber that moves much more slowly than its 5.56 mm counterpart in the AR15. As a result, when the bullet passes through an object, it leaves a much larger wound. Similarly, a slower, heavier asteroid can have more devastating effects on the Earth.
Choosing Where Your Asteroid Lands
Now, the next part of Neal.Fun that’s an awful lot of fun is choosing where your asteroid lands. When you think of the impacts of an asteroid landing, your first thought might be that the landing zone won’t play that big of a role in its ultimate effects. However, this is a very narrow-minded view that doesn’t hold much water.
Consider, for instance, the difference between an asteroid landing in an empty field or in the middle of an ocean. If the asteroid is large enough, then the result will be the same at the end of the day: total or near-total destruction of all life on Earth; but if the asteroid is small or traveling fast enough, then the location can make all the difference in terms of what will happen.
The Neal.Fun asteroid impact simulator gives many different results based on where you have your asteroid land. Let’s break down all the various information you’ll have access to.
An asteroid’s crater size can tell you quite a lot about the object that hit the Earth. After you choose the type of asteroid material, the overall speed, where the asteroid lands, and the angle that it hits the Earth, you’ll see many results, including the crater impact size, the overall depth, the resulting tsunami after impact, and more.
Some other information related to the crater includes the overall energy released by the asteroid impact, said energy compared to what’s released in a natural disaster, and how often this kind of impact happens on Earth.
If an asteroid is large enough and going at a high-enough speed, its impact on the Earth can cause a fireball to form. The Neal.Fun asteroid impact simulator will be able to fill you in on the resulting fireball that can occur and tell you quite a bit of information about it.
This information includes how many people would die immediately in the resulting fireball, how many people would suffer 3rd-degree burns, and how many would suffer 2nd-degree burns. The simulator also tells you how many trees would catch on fire due to said fireball.
The next category of information you would have to look forward to when interacting with the Neal.Fun asteroid simulator is being able to see the resulting shockwave. When an asteroid comes into contact with Earth, it is an event of tremendous force.
While you might think of a shockwave as any burst of energy sent out by a sizable impact, the term “shock wave” refers to any impact resulting in a sonic boom louder than 194 decibels. As you can imagine, most asteroid impacts would land somewhere in this category.
The Neal.Fun asteroid simulator will fill you in on exactly how much force is exuded by an asteroid impact in terms of decibels. However, it will also fill you in on the physical effects of such a shockwave.
It will tell you how people’s eardrums and lungs would respond to such a shock. After all, most lungs would collapse after a significant-enough exposure to a highly volatile shockwave. The same goes for eardrums – these sensitive organs can pop after only a tiny exposure to a loud sound. If you’re within fifty miles of a significant enough asteroid impact, you can kiss your hearing goodbye.
Finally, the shock wave category will also inform you about the effects buildings within a certain radius will go through. Some buildings will suffer structural damage, while others will be flattened.
You can obviously figure this out by looking at the aftermath of any disaster. However, Neal.Fun can show how far away some buildings and homes can be while still suffering significant damage.
Wind Speed/Earthquake Measurement
The next categorization you can expect from this website is wind speed calculations, which will tell you how powerful winds can get after an asteroid impact. Obviously, when asteroids strike the Earth, they let out powerful waves which can blow down structures, tree limbs, and even shatter glass if they are powerful enough.
In fact, the initial wind blast that can erupt out of an asteroid impact is so significant that it can even kill millions of people immediately. The asteroid simulator will also compare those wind speeds to that of major natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.
While it might sound obvious, an asteroid impacting Earth will also result in earthquakes. Even a tiny asteroid can result in an earthquake occurring as they travel with immense speed, and the Earth is a rock with a finite size.
This earthquake will often not be the most prominent part of the collision, but it can be a noticeable part if the asteroid is immense. However, earthquakes will be one of many things to worry about if a big asteroid hits the Earth.
Playing Around With the Simulator
While there are a lot of things that the Neal.Fun asteroid simulator can’t do, it is still a fun tool we think anyone would want to play around with. This tool can be handy for understanding the primary effects of an asteroid’s impact. While it might sound intuitive to assume that asteroid impacts are deadly, not all are created equal.
This tool makes it very useful for understanding how material types, impact zones, speeds, and more can influence exactly how the asteroid will affect destruction, heat, and more. We hope that this breakdown of the Neal.Fun simulator has been interesting and informative for you.