When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 17 February 2013

See also column on 23 Dec 2012: Avoiding the ‘Mother of All Tsunamis’

Follow up column on 3 March 2013: When Worlds Collide #56: Communicating for Survival – Who will save Earth?

Sometimes it takes a dramatic event to open the world’s eyes to certain hazards.

The meteor that exploded in the skies over Chelyabinsk, in Siberia, Russia, on 15 February 2013 is now being seen as a ‘wake-up call from outer space’.

The object’s size, before it broke up in the atmosphere, has been estimated to have been around 17 metres (55 feet), weighing around 10,000 tons. Scientists believe that some 500 kilotons of energy was released – which makes it 20 to 30 times more powerful than the atomic bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Fortunately, no one was killed, even…

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