“The geology P.A.G.E” made a nice post on fighting asteroids, but theres one claim there Ive seen many times, but never believed in. Its this:
So you shatter an asteroid the size of Texas and get what? Instead of 1 asteroid the size of Texas you get millions to billions of still very large asteroids hitting the Earth at roughly the same time… This result is possibly worse then doing nothing, if not just as bad.
Many people say this when talking about fighting asteroids. They say it with great assurance. They could be right, I just dont get why though, and that makes me sceptical until I see some hard proof. Im tired of hearing people say “well this just how it is, accept it”. Because for me it defies any experience I have with how things behave. Of cource, I have no experince of falling mega-asteroids, but I can down scale it to other things I do have experince of.
But first… Lets say you have a Texas-size asteroid hitting Earth Armageddon style – that would cause such massive destruction to the biosphere, atmospehre and litosphere so that very little or none of life on Earth would survive. The impact ejecta would cover the planet in dust and debris and the atmosphere would probably more or less disapear near the impact and become unlivable in the rest. We would se massive earthquakes and winds all over the planet. Total annihilation of basically everything.
The claim is that breaking the asteroid in to several pieces is at best just as bad, but probably worse (!)
And this is what I dont get. If you throw one kilogram of gravel at a window, the window might actually hold. If you through a stone of one kilogram at the same window, it most likely will break. Same speed, same force, same standard glass window. The force is spread out on several grains wich cannot cause the same force on the target.
This simple principle tells me that the same logic should apply to an impact event on Earth. One big is much more worse than several small. Now note that I say SEVERAL small. Im not talking about two pieces instead of one, Im talking about “millions of billions” of the same mass as one. Lets spray Earth with one million car-sized asteroids or one Texas-sized.
Of course there would be massive devestation still, but worse than from one single massive impact? Most likely several billion more tons of the asteroids would burn up in the atmosphere than it would from the single mass. And the force would be spread out on a larger area and for a longer duration. Instead of one second event you would get minutes of bombardment. The window might actually hold.
Or at least thats what I imagine. I wanna se real proof of why this isnt so.