Asteroid Launcher: This website lets you destroy cities with giant space rocks

Hot on the heels of "NUKEMAP," this new website lets you destroy a city anywhere in the world using giant space rocks.
Christopher McFadden
asteroid-launcher.jpg
The new website lets you simulate asteroid impacts!

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If you are a fan of the website "NUKEMAP," then you'll be more than familiar with unleashing hell on your hometown or another city worldwide. But now, you can mix up the fate of a city by using a new website that simulates asteroid impacts too!

Called "Asteroid Launcher," this new website will provide hours of harmless fun to anyone with time. But, there is a more series angle to the site.

According to Space.com, astronomers are keeping an eye on more than 2,200 potentially dangerous asteroids that are bigger than 0.6 miles (1 km) in diameter. These asteroids are in the area around Earth's orbit. Fortunately, they rarely come close enough to pose a genuine threat.

But it also means that anyone curious about what might happen if a space rock that size were to collide with Earth accidentally would have to make do with the Chixculub asteroid collision that wiped out dinosaurs 66 million years ago.

"Asteroid Launcher" lets you destroy a city with a giant space rock

Asteroid Launcher: This website lets you destroy cities with giant space rocks
A screenshot from the website Asteroid Launcher.

"Asteroid Launcher," a brand-new web application that aims to answer some questions that asteroid impact enthusiasts have. But, like "NUKEMAP," it is also enjoyable and morbidly fascinating.

"Asteroid Launcher" is simple to use too.

You can select the impactor's diameter (up to a mile), impact speed, and impact angle from various space rocks with various compositions, such as asteroids made of iron, stone, carbon, or gold. Then, choose any location on a map for ground zero and click "Launch Asteroid."

Like "NUKEMAP," "Asteroid Launcher" shows more than just the initial blast or, in the latter's case, the size of the crater. It also shows the fireball, shockwave, devastating winds, and earthquake that would happen when the asteroid hit.

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Using the example run by Space.com, they dropped an asteroid like 99942 Apophis (which will pass Earth in 2029 but won't impact it directly) over downtown Los Angeles, USA.

"Asteroid Launcher" estimates that this collision would leave a 4.7-mile (7.5-kilometer) wide crater, and the explosion would destroy much of the city, killing over 5.5 million people. Up to 27 miles (43 km) away in Pomona or Santa Clarita, people could have their eardrums popped by the shockwave.

Even 67 miles (108 km) distant from San Bernardino or Ventura, tornado-force gusts might topple trees. Additionally, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake might be felt 119 miles (191 km) distant in Bakersfield or San Diego.

Neil Agarwal, the programmer who created "Asteroid Launcher," said that he based it on several scientists' academic studies and calculated the impacts of an asteroid impact from those.

Whether or not the website's results are entirely accurate will likely be the subject of much discussion, but it certainly highlights how devastating such impacts would be today!