Might the World End Soon: How Real is The Danger of a Major Meteor Strike on Earth? "With zillions and zillions of meteors hurtling around in our solar system, there's always a chance that one could hit Earth at any moment. But what would be the consequences and how would the Earth be affected if one does happen to hit? If an object from space hit the sea, a huge tidal wave would be formed, hundreds of meters high, which would leave most of the world under water for a period of time, destroying and killing everything in it's way. This would have a catastrophic effect on the Earth, as most people would be killed, and leaving countries powerless, unable to do anything. Crops would also be destroyed, starvation would kill all of the survivors, homes would be washed away leaving no shelters, and without hospitals or medication disease would spread quickly killing even more people. As it can be seen, the effects of a meteorite hitting the sea would only cause a temporary, yet catastrophic flooding. Though a direct impact on the ice caps could cause a larger scale of destruction.

The caps would melt, increasing the sea level a few hundred meters high. On the other hand, if an object from space hit land, it would cause a huge amount of dust and dirt to be thrown into the atmosphere. This dust would stay in the atmosphere for many years and would block out the sun, causing the Earth to fall into a darkness, as well as leaving many consequences on the planet. Crops would fail due to the lack of light, which would cause massive starvation and death. It would be difficult to breathe without special masks to filter out the dust. With no sunlight or heat, being able to penetrate the atmosphere, the overall world temperature would fall dramatically, causing a possible ice age to occur." - "Death in June" (Discover; page 16).

With all the facts and governmental resource, there is a good chance that a meteor could hit the earth at any moment causing the world to end! Over the millions of years that Earth has existed, there have been billions of meteors that hit, but of all the ones that hit, scientists concluded that they were not Earth threatening. The most recent meteor that struck Earth, that caused serious damage, was on the morning on June 30, 1908 in Siberia. When it hit, it had the force of a 20-megaton nuclear bomb. The collision caused nearly a thousand square miles of forest around the Tunguska River to be destroyed. Another example, is the theory of the dinosaurs extinction.

Scientists have never proven this to be 100 % true, but it is one of the beliefs on how the dinosaurs became extinct. Both scientists and paleontologists, feel that a meteor must of hit Earth, a few million years ago, killing the dinosaurs. The meteor that might of wiped out the dinosaurs also could have brought about the ice age, because of the huge dust cloud that was thrown into the air. Also, even though this meteor strike never hit Earth, the world watched in awe as thousands of meteors hit the planet Jupiter two years ago. For about one week, many meteors collided into Jupiter causing huge craters on it's surface. If the meteors hit the Earth instead of Jupiter -- the world might have been destroyed.

Almost every American has to know of the crater in Arizona. About 49, 000 years ago, a 150 foot meteor hit into the present day state of Arizona. This is the biggest crater in the United States. Throughout time, there have been many meteors that have hit Earth causing great damage, but the scary thing is that there are still trillions and trillions of meteors right outside our planet. In the Milky Way, the Earth is one of the planets with the greatest chance of getting hit by a meteor. The Earth is only one planet away from the Asteroid Belt, which is located between Mars and Jupiter.

At any moment, a meteor could break free and head straight towards Earth. With millions of meteors located in this belt there is a great chance that one could break free. Many scientists and government workers are afraid that this might happen, so the yare teaming up to figure out a plan to stop it from happening. NASA is trying to track up to ninety percent of the meteors (that are over one kilometer) in the next ten years.

Also, the United States Government is dedicating more money for research to guard against meteor attacks. One of NASA's best ideas (if a meteor is heading straight towards Earth) is to "redirect this huge meteor. The thing with that option is that NASA will have to identify any Earth threatening objects ten to twenty years before impact so they can shift it a few millimeters laterally per second during it's course of travel. If they do identify one though, they would have to send a spacecraft to it and set off an explosion, causing the meteor to veer off course of Earth. But for the meteors we discover a few months before impact, we would only have a ten percent chance of stopping the meteor from hitting Earth," - as told by Donald Yeomans (a NASA worker - "Meteor Attack!" Science World; page 11). NASA is working on other ideas, but this is their best idea so far.

Since meteors have hit Earth before and the government is working on ways to prevent it, they must feel it could happen again in the near future. There are many meteors out in space that are much bigger then any one that has ever hit Earth. A scary fact is that a meteor the size of a Volkswagen Beetle could destroy Earth if it lands in the right spot. Since many meteors have already hit Earth that caused damage and there's millions of huge meteors out in the Asteroid Belt, you can put two and two together, and figure out that there isa great chance that one of these meteors could hit us again, destroying the Earth. So, we are only about a million miles away from destruction. Scientists have figured out the chance of a meteor hitting Earth that would cause a serious death count.

They feel that once in every 100, 000 years a meteor could hit Earth that would kill 100 or more people. They also feel that 1, 000 people or more would get killed once in every 1, 000, 000 years due to a meteor. Just to warn you, there hasn't been a major strike that killed that many people or left serious damage to Earth in a few million years. The last time a meteor caused great damage was in prehistoric time when a meteor weighting about 132, 000 pounds landed in Southwest Africa. That meteor is the biggest one that scientists ever found on Earth. Sadly for us though, there are millions of meteors that are hundreds of times bigger then the one that hit in Southwest Africa.

Just imagine the damage that could occur if one does hit! In conclusion, a meteor will hit the Earth in the near future destroying the human race and every other form of life on Earth. It probably won't happen in the next ten years, but maybe somewhere between the next hundred to thousand years. There have been many meteors that have struck the Earth's surface, and there's still millions of huge ones out there. Probably the only good news regarding a meteor hitting the Earth, is that both the Government and NASA are working on many ideas to prevent it from happening. There is just one more thing to say -- watch out for the big one, it could hit at any moment, and just remember to DUCK! ! !