Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Could you survive an asteroid impact?

Could You Survive an Asteroid Impact?

Last week a once in a lifetime surprise meteor flashed across the sky and exploded in a fireball above Russia, causing a shock wave that shattered windows and injured over 1000 people. At the same time asteroid DA14 went flying past the Earth at a record-breaking distance of about 17,000 miles from the surface.

The Earth gets hit every day but now and again we get hit by a big one. Could we survive a hit like the one that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Some say we could not survive such a hit but I say we can.

We don't really know the effects of a big hit. But if we are to believe what some Scientists tell us then we can assume that the surface of the Earth will be almost completely sterilized by the fires that will consume every thing that will burn. The air will become super heated to perhaps 800 degrees. Earthquakes will rock the planet and giant waves will flood the coasts. Then the planet will freeze for several years due to lack of sunlight. But people can survive all that. They just need to be underground.

Every day all around the world thousands of people are underground at any given moment. Thousands of people work in mines and underground government bunkers. Many thousands more are riding in subways or train or road tunnels. Several hundred or perhaps even a few thousand peppers have underground bunkers they can access.  And don't forget the hundreds of men who are deep under the ocean in nuclear subs all the time. So we can expect many thousands of people to survive the blast and the heat. Now we just need to feed them. So how do we feed people when the earth is one big sterilized cold dark rock? We will eat things that most people would not consider eating now.

We know that many lifeforms survived the event that killed the dinosaurs. Animals that lived under ground and under water were protected from the heat and the blast. And the same kind of animals can survive the next big hit, Animals like mice and rats and earth worms would survive and they may in fact be quite plentiful as the disaster may provide them with lots of dead cooked stuff to eat. The impact will also kill all the larger animals that would normally prey on them. I know it may sound unpleasant but rats, mice, and worms are really nutritious and they don't taste bad if you can get past the idea of eating them.  Think alternate food sources!! Survivors would also be able to find insects and a few species of animals that live in the water such as Fish, crocodiles, turtles, frogs and many more.

Human beings are not designed to live on a diet of meat only so any survivors would also need to find a source of plant matter. Finding the necessary plants on a world that has been scorched may seem impossible but it may in fact not be. The roots of many plants are edible and may survive the initial high temperatures.Water plants may survive for some time until the coming cold temperatures and lack of sunlight kill them off.

Long term survival in such a hostile environment will be difficult. It could be many years before sunlight returns to levels sufficient for agriculture. However humans are amazingly adaptable creatures and our ability to use whatever we can find to our advantage should serve us well. For example our ability to scrounge things like glass from the wreckage of civilization and build greenhouses to grow plants sooner than nature would otherwise allow.

So with a little luck and ingenuity humanity might just survive an asteroid impact.

Credits: Image by idea go at freedigitalphotos.net

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