What Would Happen If Earth Collided With A Comet

Have you ever thought about a comet collision? What would happen if a comet finally strikes earth? Would man survive? Even if we did, how long would we last?

Worst than your existential crisis plaguing your thoughts is the rabbit hole you fall through when you start wondering about the future of the earth. Alien invasions and apocalypses take backstage when you weigh in the probability of a comet wiping out life on earth.

After all, a comet is more likely to collide with earth as compared to our union with intergalactic beings.

Here is a list of possibilities we have dug out to give us a vague idea of the situation:

1. We might survive the comet

We must always keep our hopes high even when faced with utter calamity. The best case scenario in a comet collision is that the impact is not that strong. This exclusively depends on the size of the approaching comet, which determines the energy of the impact.

On a broad spectrum if the comet is:

  • 100 meters across earth then it will explode before it hits us
  • More than 1 km away. Then we are doomed!
  • 5 km away then goodbye Homo sapiens!

It is said that the comet that ended the Cretaceous era all those 65 million years ago was 10 kilometers away.

2. The sky catches fire

Your grade school teacher probably described the comet as a fireball, right?

Now extend that concept to this scenario. What do you think will happen after a fireball crashes down on earth’s surface?  

Firstly, the comet will strike down anyone near the crash. Secondly, the fireball might bounce back and release a trillion meteors in the sky. These fallings embers will heat up the atmosphere on its journey downwards; this, in turn, will ignite the land below and burn out Earth to smithereens.

In short not the kind of meteor shower you want to witness!

3. Winter is here

The comet collision will block out the sun for a month or a year depending on its size. The dust and smoke released from the burning land and low temperatures might freeze us. As we try to live through this eternal winter, plants will start withering away without photosynthesis and animals will soon die due to lack of resource.

No sun means the food chain is sure to break up and become extinct.

4. Greenhouse effect

Have you heard this quote?

‘If winter is here, can spring be far behind?’

Percy Shelly was right on the money when he penned down this beautiful verse. Except the survivors of the comet crash will not experience spring but the greenhouse effect that will soon follow the winter solstice.

This means:

  • The ozone layer will be non-existent
  • The nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide will turn Earth into a boiling pot
  • The  sulfurous dust and nitrogen in the air will cause acid rain that will dissolve any vegetation or marine life had survived the comet

As cosmologists and scientists debate over the inconceivable outcomes of a comet collision, let’s just hope we aren’t around to see the show live!