• The interactive map allows users to custom-crash asteroids of their choice
  • It shows each crash's brutal after-effects on people and the surroundings
  • It uses Apple Maps, which feeds satellite images of the Earth into the simulation

Curious about what will happen if an asteroid ever hits your hometown? You can now find answers to your questions, thanks to an interactive map that lets people simulate crashes anywhere on the planet and understand their consequences.

Asteroid Launcher is the brainchild of developer Neal Agarwal, who describes himself as a creative coder. It lets anyone custom-crash asteroids of their choice and learn about the event's brutal after-effects not only on people but also on the surroundings.

"I love playing out disaster scenarios in my head and so I've always wanted a tool that would help visualize the effects of some major natural disaster," Agarwal told Vice's Motherboard.

"Asteroids are a good choice since their effects are so far-reaching. I think the tool could also help people gain more appreciation for our need to deflect asteroids like in NASA's DART mission," he added.

Asteroid Launcher works with the help of Apple Maps, which feeds satellite images of the Earth into the simulation.

With this interactive map, one can play god and pick an impact site and filter through different options to find their preferred space debris to wreak havoc on the planet. They can choose from the following: comet, gold asteroid, iron asteroid, stone asteroid and carbon asteroid. Users also have the liberty to adjust the diameter of their asteroid to up to 1 mile, TechSpot's reported.

After each crash, the website shows results that contain specifics such as effects on population and plants as well as estimated deaths due to instant vaporization, people affected by painful burns, clothes and trees set ablaze, resulting shockwaves that can damage ears, wind blasts and even earthquakes, according to the outlet.

It reportedly took two long months and a lot of deep, complicated physics to complete Asteroid Launcher.

"Asteroid impact simulation is a whole area of research, and it can get pretty complicated, with supercomputers needed to get the most accurate results," Agarwal explained. "But luckily there are also tons of great resources like Dr. Gareth Collins' scientific papers that simplify the equations and make them more accessible."

The simulation is "based on papers by Dr. Gareth Collins and Dr. Clemens Rumpf," as mentioned on the website's About page.

Collins is a professor at the Imperial College London whose focus is on asteroid impacts, while Rumpf is a former NASA engineer who has published multiple papers in the field of asteroid impacts and their effects, according to Motherboard.

Interestingly, Asteroid Launcher is reminiscent of the Nukemap, which allows users to "drop" nukes on any part of the planet and see their effects.

"Nukemap is a classic and I remember first playing around with it in high school. I definitely took some inspiration from Nuke Map when making this project," Agarwal recalled.

It seems like people have a lot of latent feelings that they want to release based on the response Asteroid Launcher has received.

"It definitely seems to be a release valve for some as I've seen people fling asteroids at their workplace and rival sports teams," Agarwal said. "My favorite comment from Reddit was 'I had a fun time finding an asteroid that was big enough to destroy my workplace but not my apartment.'"

Agarwal's website has many other hidden gems besides Asteroid Launcher. They include The Deep Sea, Spend Bill Gates' Money and Absurd Trolley Problems.

NASA asteroid impact
An illustration shows an asteroid impacting Earth in circumstances similar to the asteroid strike that killed the dinosaurs and plunged the world into darkness. NASA/NCAR