Chelyabinsk-Like Asteroid Gets Incinerated in Supercomputer Simulation (Video)
When a small asteroid fell to Earth over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013, the speeding space rock exploded midair and created a shock wave powerful enough to damage thousands of buildings and injure more than 1,200 people. The blast from the Chelyabinsk explosion shattered glass windows up to 58 miles (93 kilometers) away.
Using the Pleiades supercomputer at NASA’s Ames Research Facility in California’s Silicon Valley, researchers are modeling hypothetical asteroid-impact scenarios like this one to learn more about how dangerous space rocks crumble into pieces after entering Earth’s atmosphere. These supercomputer simulations harness NASA’s Cart3D aerodynamic design software and the ALE3D modeling software developed by Lawrence Livermore National Lab.