Recently scientists all over the world have presented many models describing a collision of the Earth with an asteroid or a comet. All of us can imagine the consequences of such a collision. That is a powerful impact wave, a huge tsunami from the body falling into the ocean and the so-called “impact” winter and “firey” rain consisting of material from the Earth’s crust blasted to the edge of the atmosphere with a subsequent rain of meteors back to the Earth. All these scenarios are possible with the falling of a large body similar to that which possibly killed off the dinosaurs at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (the so-called K-T Event).

Is this all we can expect from such a catastrophic scenario? Or do we need to prepare for something more? As studies by the American scientists of the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) have shown, one more biosphere-destroying event will be the destruction of the planet’s ozone layer. The group, under the direction of Elizabeth Pierazzo, generated two models describing the fall of asteroids 500 and 1000 meters in diameter into the ocean (depth of 4000 meters). From their analysis of the data the scientists came to some conclusions about the catastrophic consequences of the ejection of huge quantities of hot water vapor into the atmosphere. After the water vapor, the liberation of huge volumes of chlorides and bromides will continue the process of destroying the ozone layer. As a result of these events, there will be a global exhaustion of the ozone layer, and Earth life will be defenseless for years.

The UVI (ultraviolet index) may be over 20 for several months after Earth is hit by a 500 meter asteroid. A reading of 10 is dangerous to humans, and 20 is the maximum value ever recorded on Earth. Under such radiation, a person can get burned even after only five minutes in the sun. Even more serious are the facts associated with the impact of a kilometer-sized asteroid. The brightness of the ultraviolet radiation will reach a huge value – 56! A person without protection in the open sunlight would literally burn up. The ultraviolet intensity would gradually decrease, but over the course of two years its level would remain over 20.

During this time most of the plant and animal life on Earth would perish; in countries where there are not huge reserves of foodstuffs, hunger would become a problem. All this is without calculating in the catastrophe which a huge tsunami would cause.

All these data are not to scare the people of the Earth, but, instead, they have the purpose of bringing understanding of what we must be prepared for, if we want to preserve our civilization at our modern level of development, and not plunge it into chaos because we couldn’t take a hit from space.

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