As long as mankind emerged from the water. Given how fortunate it is for us, it becomes strange why we have not yet found life elsewhere in the universe. Nevertheless, there were many cases when the human race was almost on the verge of the end of the world.
Observation of Bonilla
August 12, 1883, the Mexican astronomer Jose Bonilla watched more than 400 dark, fuzzy, unknown objects crossing the Sun, when he studied his crown. Unknown to him, these objects were fragments of a comet with a mass of over a billion tons, which disintegrated and miraculously passed the Earth. A comet of this size once killed dinosaurs.
Each fragment was between 50 meters and 4 kilometers in size and is much more powerful than an atomic bomb. According to various estimates, fragments passed at a distance of 600 to 8000 kilometers from the Earth. This is very small in the cosmic sense. Each such fragment could lead to an explosion similar to that triggered by the Tunguska meteorite. According to scientists, life on Earth would then certainly come to an end.
The Tunguska event was caused by the impact of a small asteroid or comet, which fell apart near the surface of the Earth in 1908. The air explosion, which happened then, knocked over 2,000 square kilometers of dense forest in Russia.
Fortunately, no one was killed by the explosion, since it occurred in a sparsely populated area. The explosion was equivalent to the force of 1000 bombs, which fell on Hiroshima and killed 160,000 people. The witness, who was 65 kilometers from the event, described it as follows: “The sky split in two, and above the forest was a tall and wide fire.”
Coronal mass ejection
As we all know, in 2012 the world did not come to an end, contrary to the predictions of the Maya. But he was closer than you think. The incredibly powerful release of the solar plasma happened in July of that year, slipping to that place in the orbit of the Earth where the planet was nine days before.
If this solar mass hit the Earth itself, the damage to electronic equipment would be catastrophic. It would lead to damage of trillions of dollars, and the recovery would take ten years. In an era when we are so dependent on technology, such an event will be awful.
4581 Asclepius is the name of an asteroid that passed 645,000 kilometers from Earth in March 1989. Pretty far away, huh? Well, the end of the world almost came, because 4581 Asclepius went through the exact position of the Earth six hours earlier.
If an asteroid were hit, the explosion would be equivalent to a 600-megaton thermonuclear explosion. For comparison: the most powerful nuclear bomb was 50 megaton. The cloud of mushroom that could have happened in the process of such an explosion would have been 7 times higher than Mount Everest.
In September 1983, the Soviet nuclear early warning system reported that the United States launched a multitude of intercontinental ballistic missiles in the direction of the USSR.
As the alarm rang, computer systems reported five missiles on the road. Stanislav Petrov, the duty officer at the base, said that the warnings were a false alarm and did not follow orders. He said that if an attack had occurred, not five missiles would be launched, but hundreds.
Fortunately, he was right. That evening, Petrov did not allow a retaliatory strike by the Soviet troops, perhaps saving mankind with this. A false alarm was explained by the rare effect of sunlight on high-altitude clouds.
At the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a lonely Soviet submarine quietly slid along the ocean. Soon it was found by US Navy warships, which began to discharge small deep charges. This was a signal to lift the B-59 to the surface for identification, but the Russian crew did not know about it.
Unknown to the Americans, the B-59 was armed with a nuclear torpedo with a destructive force equal to that of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The submarine caught small explosions on the left and right, and the temperature inside rose to 38 degrees Celsius.
Not wishing to go to the surface, but being confident that they are being attacked, the commanders of the submarine were arguing about whether to launch a torpedo. It needed three votes, and only one separated the world from a nuclear war. Lieutenant-Colonel Vasily Arkhipov convinced the captain that they were not attacked and that they needed to come to the surface. Then the nuclear war was much closer than many people thought.
The B-52 crash in Goldsboro
In January 1961, the B-52 bomber, loaded with two Mark 39 nuclear bombs, collapsed in the air and dropped its 8-megaton cargo at Goldsboro in North Carolina. At the time of the collapse, the US government denied that any of the dropped bombs could detonate. But the declassified information, which went out in 2013, showed that one of the bombs was very close to the explosion.
Nuclear Security Observer Parker Jones said that “one simple dynamo technology, a low-voltage switch turned out to be between the US and a big catastrophe.” Each bomb was 250 times more powerful than that dropped on Hiroshima. If the wind blew in the right direction, deadly radioactive ash would cover New York.
The moon almost killed us
In October 1960, early detection radar in Greenland began sending insane signals that the US had been attacked. As the military began to move, details of a large-scale attack were revealed.
The North American Command of Aerospace Defense (NORAD) was fully operational. Then someone asked: “Why should the Soviet Union attack when its leader is in the US at the talks?” As a result, the reports were rechecked and it turned out that the rising Moon was taken for a threat to the country’s national security.
Tests were taken as a real threat
In 1979, programmers in NORAD almost started the Third World War when they launched the traditional simulation of the USSR attack. Unfortunately for them, the computer systems on which the tests were conducted were connected to the NORAD network and sent live data of a false attack on defense systems throughout the country.
Jet fighters lifted into the air, people began to say goodbye to their loved ones, and horror reigned among the military. Imagine a sigh of relief when there was news that all this was a great joke.
The Cuban missile crisis
At about midnight in October 1962, the Cuban missile crisis was at its peak. Nuclear bombers were constantly in the air, and the whole world held their breath and prayed for the peaceful end of the terrible test.
Security guard at the air base Duluth noticed a mysterious figure who was trying to climb over the fence. The guard shot several times and activated the alarm, which triggered identical alarms on neighboring bases. But at Wolf-Field airbase there was a very bad signal that signaled the beginning of the Third World War.
The pilots were called up and began to line up on the runway with their fighter jets and nuclear-armed bombers. They were in seconds from the take-off and delivery of atomic destruction to Russian soil. Then the truck burst into them. He desperately flashed headlights, trying to inform pilots of false alarm.
Who was this dark figure who almost started the apocalyptic chain reaction? Soviet saboteur? No. It turned out that it was nothing more than a frightened bear.