Huge Asteroid Set To Wipe Out Life On Earth - In 2880

Isobel Markham | The Telegraph | August 18, 2014

Kilometre-wide asteroid 1950 DA has a one-in-300 chance on 16 March, 2880, US scientists say

A huge asteroid spinning at an "impossible" rate is hurtling toward Earth, on track to wipe out human life - but not until 16 March, 2880.  Asteroid 1950 DA has a one-in-300 chance of hitting the globe on the appointed day. Although that may sound like slim odds, it is the most likely asteroid to collide with our planet.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee are not taking any chances, studying the asteroid for indications of how best to throw it off its course.  According to their research, published in the science journal Nature, the asteroid has a diameter of one kilometre and is travelling at nine miles a second relative to the Earth.  It is also rotating so fast - once every 2 hours and six minutes - that it "defies gravity". Rotation at that speed should cause the space rock to fly apart, but cohesive forces called van der Waals are holding it together. These forces have never before been detected on an asteroid.

Were it to make contact with the planet, it would hit at 38,000 miles per hour, exerting the same force as around 44,800 megatonnes of TNT.  An impact would cause an enormous explosion and tsunamis, changing the climate of the globe and destroying human life...

Open Health News' Take: 

This news focuses on large asteroids that could wipe out life on Earth, just as nuclear war. Not much that can be done in those situations. However, perhaps it is time to prepare for asteroid strikes that could cause massive damage, but not life-extinction events. The Earth has seen major asteroids pass by within striking distance in the past couple of decades. It is time to address a potential impact from the standpoint of a robust and redundant medical care system to deal with these kinds of potential catastrophes. Currently the US healthcare system can't even handle major storms. How is it going to handle a sizable meteorite impact? Roger A. Maduro, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, Open Health News.