Worried about an asteroid hitting the Earth?

Primary tabs

Dirk Vander Ploeg's picture

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico presented a simulation of what would happen if a one-megaton bomb were detonated on the surface of an asteroid 500 metres in diameter.

The simulation, powered by 32,000 computer processors to handle the necessary calculations, concluded that the resulting explosion would prevent it from slamming into the planet.

"Ultimately this one-megaton blast will disrupt all of the rocks in the rockpile of this asteroid, and if this were an Earth-crossing asteroid, would fully mitigate the hazard represented by the initial asteroid itself," said Los Alamos scientist Bob Weaver.