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# Astronomy/Comet mass

Question
Given  the statement "a comet is the closest that something can be to nothing, and still be something", is the potential damage of a direct impact with Earth due to its velocity?

Yes, the velocity is the big factor. Recall the kinetic energy equation where KE equals 1/2 times the mass times the velocity SQUARED. Just like a vehicle going 70.7 mph has twice as much energy as a car going only 50 mph - (5000 versus 2500 when you square the velocity... and KE triples at 86.6 mph). Double the velocity to 100 mph and it's 4 times the KE you had at 50 mph.
As far as mass, even though a comet nucleus is a very low density body, a cubic mile of frozen water ice with dust, frozen gases, etc... still has a mass exceeding a little more than 10 Kg!  ;-)  (Picture trying to tow a cubic mile iceberg through the water... not the easiest thing to do.)
Clear Skies,
Tom

Astronomy

Volunteer

#### Tom Whiting

##### Expertise

Astronomy has been my hobby/pasttime for over 50 years.  Currently own 3 telescopes, the largest of which is a 30 inch Newtonian truss Dob that is portable.I taught Astronomy/Meteorology at the University Level for 13 years before retiring in 1995. Being retired and home most of the time, I am able to answer all questions relatively quickly, unless it's a new moon weekend with good observing conditions.  No astrology questions please, or questions about alleged UFO picture identifications.

##### Experience

Experience: Astronomy has been my hobby and study for over 50 years. We currently now own a 30 inch portable telescope (Updated - Pennsylvania`s largest portable telescope). It can be seen on our website at:http://www.velocity.net/~bwhiting and also attend several regional starparties during the year, and have been on 5 total solar eclipse expeditions.

Organizations: President, Erie County Mobile Observers Group for over 15 years.

Publications: Wrote the "Over Erie Skies" newspaper article in our local newspaper for 11 years (1975-86).

Education: Masters Degree- Taught at the University level for 13 years. Retired 20 years -USAF Pilot - KC-135 with 180 combat missions;  Also Eagle Scout, Philmont staff 2 Yrs, Order of Arrow Lodge Chief, Ham Radio (inactive).

Awards: two discoveries: The mini-coathanger asterism in Ursa Minor (the little dipper) And the mini-ladle- another asterism in the bowl of Ursa Minor. Clients: Currently President of the ECMOG as mentioned above.

Education/Credentials
BS  Metallurgical Engineering Grove City College, PAMaster's Degree, Gannon University, Erie, PA Also retired USAF pilot, 20 years.