The UK is not directly under an asteroid path but experts have warned that it is still at risk of asteroid impacts that could trigger tsunamis and kill hundreds of thousands of people who live in the coastal regions.
Clemens Rumpf, from the University of Southampton who developed a software that predicts the impact locations and effects of asteroids, said that the program called Armor can help organizations such as the United Nations make informed decision on whether or not to evacuate populations or send spacecraft to intercept potentially dangerous space rocks.
Unlike other natural disasters, an asteroid impact is predictable and this can be averted by changing the trajectory of the asteroid. Rumpf said that the software can help in missions that aim to deflect asteroids.
"Our long-term goal is to support asteroid deflection mission design by including the knowledge of where the asteroid could impact and what damage it could cause into the deflection mission design process," Rumpf said.
Rumpf said that they have discovered about 13,000 asteroids with about 500 of them having the potential of hitting Earth. Using the software, he said that scientists can now calculate where asteroids could impact and the damage that it would cause, which could be crucial in developing evacuation plans.
One of the biggest threats posed by asteroid strikes is a tsunami and Britain is at risk being an island bordered by lots coastline and a considerable number of people who live there. While a hurtling asteroid is not something many people fear in the U.K, there is a one in 10,000 odds that an asteroid could impact off the coast of Norfolk within the next eight decades or so.
"When you look at global vulnerability, Britain is at very high risk," said Aerospace Engineering senior lecturer Hugh Lewis, also from the University of Southampton. "You might think that is odd because we are a very small country but we have a high population density on the coastline so that means we are vulnerable to an impact in the Atlantic Ocean."
Based on new maps that show asteroid risk zones, South Australia is also at risk having several asteroid paths that cross Lake Gairdner towards Queensland. In Europe, Scandinavia, France, Spain and Germany could be also in danger. The U.S. on the other hand, is widely unaffected albeit there are chances that Florida and Louisiana could be hit.
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