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The West Wing Asteroid

The asteroid on The West Wing (which, of course, missed the Earth by the end of the episode) turned out to be a 400 m asteroid moving at about 25 km/s..

That's nothing. The guy who was claiming it was big in the promos was the freaked-out underling. The guy they had playing the head of NASA was much calmer.

Now, when I say that the asteroid was "nothing," keep in mind I'm talking on a global scale. It's true such an asteroid could cause earthquakes at about 6.9 on the Richter scale and destroy a city. But on a global scale, nothing major would happen. The Earth would keep spinning and the human race would survive. It would not be the end of the world.

For more information, and your own asteroid fun, check out http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/impacteffects/ where you can plug in your own asteroid and watch it destroy the Earth!

Comments

As I was watching the episode tonight, i thought of you. I also liked how the asteroid possibly hitting the earth was the comic relief in the episode.
Thanks for the update!
I think is fair to say that when non-SF TV shows and films throw in a bit of science, they rarely get it right.

This is why, BTW, when I hear that non-SF fans are writing an SF film or show, I head for the hills. Not only do many of them not know what's been done in SF, but they also underestimate the value of knowing at least some science, and knowing how to do research.
While I agree it was more of the side story and in many ways the comic relief I am glad that they didn't play it up as being really silly either. It also gave them a nice vehicle to get Leo back in the office and to give a few other things some momentum they needed.
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