Well, we had a great run. Humanity achieved so many remarkable accomplishments such as cookies and cream cookie butter, the Russian police choir singing Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, toothpaste tube squeezers, and breakfast tacos. But all good things must come to an end and our end is near. Maybe. But probably not. An asteroid reportedly has a chance of smashing us into smithereens.
In June, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) detected asteroid 2018 LF16 and found that its orbit put the space rock heading towards us. The scientist’s calculations determined that there would be 62 times that the asteroid would come alarmingly close to Earth between 2023 and July 24, 2117. The first potentially deadly encounters could happen on August 3, 2024, and then on August 1, 2025. 2018 LF16 is placed 7862nd on Near-Earth Asteroid Tisserand Parameters list. So you might only have five years left, better get cracking on those life goals.
2018 LF16 weighs 13 billion tons and is 700-feet wide or twice the height of the Statue of Liberty. If this space rock collided into Earth it would do so with the force of 1,500 Hiroshima or Nagasaki nuclear bombs or the power of a 560 megaton nuke. George R.R. Martin had better start writing faster. Here’s what a 57 megaton nuclear bomb looks like detonating. The Soviet Union detonated the Tsar bomb on October 30, 1961, in Novaya Zemlya, an island in the Arctic Sea. That’ll leave a mark.
Now for the happy news. Based on NASA calculations on the asteroid’s trajectory, there is only a 1 in 30,000,000 chance of 2018 LF16 impact with our planet. So we’re probably good for the time being. While this is a remarkably minuscule chance of a collision, you had a 1 in 302,575,350 chance to win October’s Mega Millions, yet you still thought it was a possibility that you would win all the money.
Here is a simulation of what it would look like if a large asteroid smashed into the Earth. Spoiler Alert: It would not be good.