Hitting the Earth is comparable to hitting an ant on a dartboard.
Although the probability of an asteroid impact during your lifetime is small, the consequences could be huge, with millions or maybe even billions of people killed.
It hardly noticed the air as it plunged through the atmosphere in a fraction of a second, momentarily leaving a trail of vacuum behind it.
Nothing is strong enough to resist this pressure, so the gas expands rapidly and pushes anything near it out of the way.
The flying debris is what does the damage in an explosion.
For this reason, the US government continues to sponsor both asteroid searches, to identify potential impactors, and research into ways to deflect or destroy such bodies. occurs when a great deal of stored energy is suddenly converted into heat in a confined space.
But why should an asteroid impact cause an explosion? This is true for a grenade, an atomic bomb, or an asteroid hitting the Earth.
The heat is enough to vaporize the matter, turning it into an extremely hot gas.
Such a gas has enormous pressure, that is, it puts a great force on everything that surrounds it.
It doesnt matter what the original form of the energy is; it could be kinetic energy (the result of motion) like the energy of the asteroid, or chemical energy like the energy in the explosive TNT (trinitrotoluene).
It is the rapid conversion of this energy into heat that is at the heart of most explosions.
Hot vaporized material from the impact had already blasted its way out through most of the atmosphere to an altitude of 15 miles.
Material that a moment earlier had been glowing plasma was beginning to cool and condense into dust and rock that would be spread worldwide.
You may have noticed that I used a lot of common terms in the previous paragraph that I didnt explain.