Even as an asteroid, it is not easy: Once your reputation has been ruined, you can hardly get rid of the bad press. “2009JF1” had to and must experience this, which has been driven through the Internet as a bugbear for two years and supposedly could wipe out all of humanity. Fortunately, “2009JF1” doesn’t notice anything. First of all, it is still a few million kilometers away from Earth. And secondly, he’s just a mindless boulder.
Incidentally, it is only a good 13 to 15 meters tall – and not, as numerous media claimed at the end of 2019, 130 meters. Not only is it rude to label someone “fat” and make them bigger than they are. It also makes a difference purely in terms of the threat situation whether the impact of a 15-meter or 130-meter object is imminent. But even at 130 meters, the end of the world would not threaten: the asteroid that carried away the dinosaurs was at least 10-15 kilometers in size. And even then, many living things survived the impact and the years of winter that followed.
The wave of the atom bomb
Now 2009JF1 is only 15 meters tall – and thus comparable to the meteorite that fell on February 15, 2013 Chelyabinsk fell and around 1,500 people were injured when it exploded in the atmosphere – mainly from shattered glass. Sure, I don’t want to see that kind of thing land on my home – especially when I’m in it. But to write about a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions and “Worse than nuclear catastrophe”?
In addition, many media suggest that the impact of 2009JF1 is practically certain. From “Asteroid is hurtling towards earth: will it hit in 2022?” above “Asteroid rushes towards earth – impact like nuclear catastrophe“towards”IMPACT IN MAY 2022? ASTEROID IS RUNNING ON EARTHThis is followed by paragraph-by-paragraph explanations of how dangerous the asteroid is and what explosive power it has. This is then often compared with the Hiroshima bomb, which corresponds to 17 such atomic bombs in terms of pure explosive power and, logically, awakens terrible associations with the thousands upon thousands of dead in the Japanese city It is completely concealed that the majority of these people died from the radiation and not from the explosion.
And then, usually somewhere at the very end of the text, the apparently insignificant fact is reported that the asteroid will still clearly miss the earth after all that is known so far. And with a probability of at least 99.97 percent.
Asteroids and other celestial bodies are actually extremely exciting objects that deserve to be given more attention in public. And in fact, a catastrophic asteroid impact is not a pipe dream, but a real danger. It is not for nothing that space agencies like NASA spend considerable funds on identify such objects and develop asteroid defense plans. But: As real as the danger of an impact in the next hundreds or thousands of years is, it is also certain that it will not be 2009JF1.