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Solar System Collisions Help File

With this program you can simulate the collision of an asteroid or a comet with any planet in Solar System!

  • HELP: Displays this help screen. To exit, click one of the Exit Help buttons.

  • Target. Pick one of the nine planets in the Solar System or the Earth's Moon.

  • Projectile Composition. Comets are thought to be composed mainly of ice. Asteroids are typically made of rock and/or iron. Because iron is denser than rock, iron projectiles can make bigger craters than rocky or icy projectiles.

  • Projectile Diameter. Typical shooting stars are a millimeter in diameter. Tunguska-type atmospheric explosions result from objects several tens of meters in size. An object several tens of kilometers in size colliding with Earth might trigger a devastating nuclear winter.

  • Projectile Velocity. Asteroids typically collide with the Earth at about 20 kilometers per second (km/s). Comets have a large range of collision speeds -- between about 20 and 70 km/s. The minimum impact speed for objects hitting Earth is the Earth's escape velocity: 11.2 km/s.

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