Safe From Meteors A closer look at the final frontier

GH First Sub Heading What are Meteors, Comets, and Asteroids

Boom! Crash! An object strikes the Earth’s surface as big smoke spreads across the land. Have you ever wonder what, why and how mysterious space object set to enter Earth’s atmosphere. For example, did you know the speed of an object entering the Earth's atmosphere depends on its size. So if an object is small it will most likely burn up as it enter the Earth’s atmosphere and cause little or no damage. However, if the object is big enough it will have a lot of speed and the Earth’s atmosphere won’t have any time to slow it down. The objective of my project is define the difference between a meteor, asteroid and a comet, and to find out how much damage would a meteorite do when it hits the Earth’s surface.

Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between an asteroid, a comet and meteor? Asteroids are rocky objects revolving around the sun that are too small and too many to be called planets. Meteors are streaks of light in the sky that we can see when a small speck of dust burns up high in the air above us. Astronomers call this dirt and comet dust “ meteoroids .” Meteoroids hit the Earth’s atmosphere at super, high speed. Sometimes it’s faster than 90,000 miles per hour. When they are in the atmosphere, they become “ meteors .” The meteor usually burns up. This creates the streak of light we see. It looks like a star falling from the sky. This is why they are called a “falling star.” Some people are confused by comets and meteors. A comet is different from a meteor. A comet is usually larger and travels slowly across the night sky. Comets appear to be bright balls with fat tails. They do not fall rapidly in the sky. The center of a comet is a ball of frozen gas, dust, and water. Like planets or moons, comets orbit around the Sun.

Now that we know the difference between an asteroid, comet and a meteor, I’m going to talk about the impact of a meteorite when it crashes to Earth.

What a meteor looks like.

GH Second Heading: What happen if a meteor crashed to Earth.

What would happen if a meteorite crashes into Earth? What damage would it do? Would the Earth’s atmosphere save us? If a meteorite is big enough and has a lot of speed the atmosphere won’t have any time to slow the meteorite down. On the other hand small meteors aren’t that fast so they will get slowed down or burned up by the atmosphere. That's why most of the time big meteorites hit the Earth instead of little ones. If a meteorite crashes into Earth, it will flatten the rocks to form a crater and explosion of rocks and dust in the air. There will be massive earthquakes, wildfires, many people can be injured and massive damage to buildings can be a result of the impact of the explosion of the meteorite, it can have a worldwide effect on life on the Earth. For example, it is thought that the impact of a meteorite is responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs and many other species.

Robots in space or going to space.

GH Third Sub Heading: Four possible ways to preventing meteorite impact

How can we predict or provide warning of a meteorite colliding with Earth, and what ways might we be able to protect ourselves from such an event. Here are 4 steps to preventing a meteorite impact with Earth.

1. Find - If we don’t know a meteorite is there, we can’t prevent its impact. The sooner we find a threatening meteorite, the more options we have to change its orbit so it won’t hit the Earth.

2. Track - Even if we find a meteorite, how do we know if is going to hit the Earth? We need to track it– get lots of telescopic observations over days, months, and years.

3. Characterize - we need to characterize the asteroids: collect many telescopic and spacecraft observations, that can tell us things like spin rate, composition, physical properties.

4. Deflect - There are a variety of possible techniques such as the slow gravity tractor (spacecraft gravity pulls the asteroid), to slam one or more spacecraft into the meteorite, or to vaporize the rock.

A meteor hit the Earth in the desert.

So in conclusion, I hope you are able to distinguish the difference between an asteroid, comet and meteor. And also that I have shown how the size of a meteorite is related to the size of the resulting crater.

Created By
Keane Hoang


Created with images by skeeze - "mars rover curiosity space travel" • skeeze - "endeavor space shuttle rollout launch pad" • WikiImages - "satellite soyuz spaceship"

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