Impact Earth! is a planetarium show that teaches about meteors, meteorites, asteroids, and comets. It includes results from recent NASA missions and about the dangers they can pose to life on Earth. It shows dramatically the effects of the Chixulub and Tungusta events, plus the Pallasite impact that resulted in the Brenham meteorite fall, and describes ways that asteroid hunters seek new objects in the solar system, and how ground penetrating radar is used to find meteorites that have survived to the Earth's surface. Narrated by astronaut Tom Jones, it also discusses ways that humans might try to deflect an asteroid or comet that is on a collision course with Earth.
Millions of asteroids and comets lurk among the planets -- left over bits and pieces from the solar system’s formation four and a half billion years ago. Because of them, we live in a dangerous cosmic shooting gallery and impacts still shape the surfaces of the planets and moons. For instance, without warning on Feb. 15, 2013, an asteroid fragment struck Siberia and exploded over a populated area close to the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Dozens of building- and car-mounted video cameras captured the meteor’s descent and the shadows it cast, making it the most documented meteor event in history. There were no deaths, but about 1,500 injuries occurred, mostly cuts from glass that broke due to the force of the shock wave produced when the meteor broke up in the atmosphere. Sound waves from this explosion circled the Earth several times.
This show was created under NASA Cooperative Agreement NCC5-316 to Rice University in conjunction with the Houston Museum of Natural Science as part of the "Immersive Earth" project, part of the REASoN program.