Researchers from the University of Southampton have developed a computer simulation known as “Armor” to predict the impact of known asteroids by mapping plausible strike paths, The Telegraph has reported.
According to information from the program the UK is not directly at risk of being hit by known asteroids. However, it’s still vulnerable to tsunamis triggered by the impact of asteroid.
“When an asteroid strikes one of the biggest problems is a tsunami. Britain is an island with lots of coastline, and lots of people living there so it is a risk,” developer of Armor PhD student Clemens Rumph told the Telegraph.
Researchers calculate that there is a one in 10,000 probability that an asteroid could strike off the coast of the UK within the remaining years of the century.
It’s estimated that there are between 1.1 million and 1.9 million asteroids larger than 1 kilometre in diameter in the belt between Mars and Jupiter.
But the number of asteroids which might hit Earth is much smaller.
“We have discovered around 13,000 asteroids and around 500 of them have a chance of hitting Earth,” Rumph said.
“We can now calculate where they could impact and the damage that would be caused so that we could get evacuation plans in order.”
In 2013, the Chelyabinsk meteor hit Russia, causing injuries to nearly 1,500 people.
It’s estimated that asteroids which are large enough to destroy a city hit earth every 1,000 to 10,000 years.
The largest impact event in recent history occurred near Tunguska River, Russia in 1908. Eighty million trees were toppled as a result of the energy of a thousand atomic bombs being released from the impact.