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Last Updated: Monday, 12 April, 2004, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Program works out impact effects
Asteroid strike, BBC
The program will make it easier to work out the effects of an asteroid strike
Scientists have launched an online calculator that works out the effects of an asteroid colliding with Earth.

Users can choose the size and type of space object and the distance they are standing from the impact site.

The program then calculates the scale of the fireball, the size of the crater left behind and even whether the impact will ignite your clothes.

It is designed to make it easier for scientists to work out the effects of different types of space collision.

The program estimates the scale of four different environmental effects following an impact: thermal radiation given out, earthquakes that are generated, debris thrown out by the collision and the air blast - a wave of distortion in the air caused by the energy of the impact.

It also works out the damage to buildings and how many trees will be blown down in the wake of the strike.

Professor Jay Melosh, Dr Gareth Collins and undergraduate Robert Marcus used complex equations as well as existing data from earthquakes and nuclear tests to devise the Impact Effects program.

The team plans to post background information on the equations they used to create the program on their website in coming weeks.




SEE ALSO:
Asteroid protection plan proposed
08 Apr 04  |  Science/Nature
Double whammy link to extinctions
01 Apr 04  |  Science/Nature
Earth almost put on impact alert
24 Feb 04  |  Science/Nature
No fiery extinction for dinosaurs
09 Dec 03  |  Science/Nature
Dinosaur impact theory challenged
01 Mar 04  |  Science/Nature


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