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Asteroid Watch
Fireballs from the Sky
February 18th, 2003
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Hello,

I've just posted more of your listings for why one should or should not fear fireballs from the sky. Pueblo School students have offered both points of view. (Check out the listing at http://www.k12science.org/asteroidwatch/student.html)

The supernova group is convinced that we have nothing to worry about while the "scaredy cats" pointed out that the earth has been hit many times over the years and that we should not ignore the threat. The cats do have a point. We are being "struck" by meteors all the time though most of them do burn up in the atmosphere.

The supernova group is right in that the really big hits don't happen very often. But then how big does an object have to be to cause significant damage? Does it have to be the size of Texas (like in the movie Armaggedon)?

This week you are asked to find out the answer to that question by performing the crater impact experiment.  You will be studying the impact of objects falling from the "sky". You will find the activity at http://www.k12science.org/asteroidwatch/impact.html

Jason Smith the reporter from the Armageddon News traveled last April to the meteor crater in Arizona to find out first hand what caused the impact there. Jason poses a challenge for you at http://www.k12science.org/asteroidwatch/arizonaimpact.html

Later in the week I will post specific information about how to send us your data.

Coming next week: We will be revisiting Project NEAR Shoemaker and finding out what we learned from the mission about the asteroids. We will also be learning about what scientists are doing to head off a potential disaster.

If you like you can get a head start by learning more about the NEAR Shoemaker mission at its official website http://near.jhuapl.edu/

Talk to you soon,
Ihor


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