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Asteroid Math, Asimov On Joules, Repost Exponents (html?)

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Posted by Michael W. Pearson on January 12, 2002 08:01:27 UTC

James Joules was "a sincerely religious man" who remained "innocent of math" -- Isaac Asimov
( please see end of post for more details )

So, Alexander looked up:
1) velocity of typical asteroid
2) density of rocky and iron/nickel asteroids
3) energy of 1 Kt of TNT in Joules
(estimates vary from 4 x 10^9 to 4x10^12 Joules...how sure are you?)
4) comparisons with nuclear bombs

Alexander computed:
1) volume of a 0.3 km potato-shaped asteroid
2) mass of that asteroid ((volume x density)
3) Kinetic energy (velocity x mass)

Other variables:
How is released energy distributed in the two scenarios? An asteroid's collision energy would distributed variously according to trajectory, while a manmade one would not have much energy in its trajectory.

May it never happen
Isaac Asimov wrote that James Joule,
for whom the energy unit is named,
"like Faraday, remained innocent of mathematics"
and "was a modest and unassuming man, a sincerely religious one, and toward the end of his life bitterly regretted the increasing application of scientific discoveryies to the art of warfare."

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