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Destroy San Francisco and other cities with this asteroid-impact simulator

The Bay Area has undeniable charms, but sometimes with the break-ins, the rent, the way that dog looked at you on the street, you just want to nuke it from orbit. And now you can, thanks to a nifty visualization that lets you hurl an asteroid into the region – or any other place on the planet – and turn it into a smoking crater, free from worldly hassles.

Asteroid Launcher” is the work of Neal Argawal, a Brooklyn resident and fulltime maker of “weird things on the web.” It’s based on math and physics from planetary-science research papers, which inform on-ground effects like “ruptured eardrums” and “clothes would catch on fire,” and owes its existence to Argawal’s fascination with apocalyptic cinema.

“I’m a huge fan of disaster movies and love playing out different world-ending scenarios in my head,” he says. “One of my favorite disaster movies is, of course, ‘Deep Impact,’ so I’ve always wanted to make a website that simulated an asteroid impact, and this is the result.”

“Clothes would catch on fire within 313 miles of the impact” 

“Launcher” offers a range of ways to meet your doom – you get to pick the size, speed and type of flying object from comet to iron asteroid to carbon asteroid. For instance, a gold asteroid (yes, they likely exist and NASA wants to probe one soon) that’s 2,400 feet in diameter and traveling at 195,000 mph would excavate a 30 mile-wide crater and kill an estimated 1.6 million people around the San Francisco epicenter.

But wait, that’s not all: It would also generate a 62-mile-wide fireball that’d incinerate clothing more than 300 miles away and make trees catch fire 400 miles away. A 248-decibel shock wave would collapse buildings up to 400 miles away and cause “severe lung damage” at half that distance, while a wind blast faster than storms on Jupiter would make people in Los Angeles feel as if they were “inside an EF-5 tornado.”

While such a disaster would release more energy than the last eruption of Yellowstone, according to Argawal’s simulation, we can take comfort that an “impact this size happens on average every 15 million years.” So sleep tight and enjoy “Asteroid Launcher” as a fun experiment … and perhaps to exact vicarious revenge for real and imagined slights.

“I like flinging asteroids at badly parked cars on the (visualization’s) satellite map,” says Argawal. “It’s actually quite relaxing.”

"Anyone within 242 miles would likely have ruptured eardrums"
“Anyone within 242 miles would likely have ruptured eardrums” 
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