Day
Three
By the middle of day three I’ve got enough data
points to be able to plot a graph of log (crater diameter)
against log (energy of impact). Using Kathy and Iain’s
estimate of the diameter of the real Nevada impact crater,
we will be able to extrapolate from my graph in order
to determine the energy of the meteorite that caused
it. Knowing the impact energy, and the approximate speed
of impact (which we can guestimate), will give us the
mass of the meteorite. If we also guestimate the density
of the meteorite (most of them are composed of iron
and nickel, so a reasonable estimate should be possible),
we can work out the volume of the meteorite. From there
it’s easy enough to calculate its diameter.
I’m absolutely astonished when we find out at
the end of the day that we’re not all that far
out from the meteorite diameter value which the professionals
have estimated for the Nevada crater. Okay, we’ve
made lots of assumptions and approximations along the
way, not the least of which was ignoring the explosion
that accompanies real meteorite impacts. Maybe the errors
we’ve made in our measurements have all cancelled
themselves out, but I’m impressed nevertheless.
I'd never have thought it possible…
