Daily Beast on "Asteroid Apocalypse"
February 23, 2013 • 9:12AM

The Newsweek-linked Daily Beast webzine staff ran a legitimate overview of the asteroid threat Feb. 22. They emphasized the lack of preparedness and lack of even a basic observation system for detecting these objects. They included a few paragraphs that are a sobering description of what the impact of a "city-killing" or a "nation-killing" asteroid would be like.

"First, one would see a blinding flash of light as the asteroid smashed into Earth. Midtown Manhattan would be instantly vaporized by the impact, leaving a crater almost a mile wide. Seconds later, the blast wave would spread out from the crater, toppling all the skyscrapers in the city as if they were made of twigs. Minutes to hours later, there would be a rain of fiery meteors falling from the sky, created by debris blown out of the original crater. Then, for hours and days, firestorms would incinerate an area roughly 30 miles from the impact site. Large swaths of Long Island, Connecticut, Westchester County, and New Jersey would be set on fire. At Hiroshima, about 100,000 people died in the opening phase of the blast. An asteroid impact could have casualties numbering in the millions.

"All this sounds like overheated science fiction, but the reality is actually much worse. Lurking in space are asteroids even bigger than the city busters — to wit, nation busters big enough to destroy Germany or England. The most dangerous one is called Apophis, which is 1,000 feet across and will come dangerously close to Earth in 2029 and again in 2036. The most recent calculations show that Apophis will barely miss Earth in 2029, but will actually graze our atmosphere. But because of the uncertainty of its path as it whizzes past, there is a small possibility that its orbit may be perturbed so it might actually hit Earth in 2036. NASA scientists are reasonably confident it will still miss Earth in 2036, but the head of the Russian space agency takes the threat of a collision seriously, stating that we have to prepare for the worst. If Apophis hits Earth, it would have the force of approximately 20,000 Hiroshima bombs."

www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/02/25/asteroid-apocalypse- why-scientists-worry-about-2036-planet-buster.html