Here’s an “end of the world” question. If our planet got struck by a large heavenly body, so that it shattered into millions of pieces, what would our last moments be like? Let’s say you happened to be standing in a field, which ended up being in the center of a piece of crust 100 miles across, and the entire piece was ejected into space. We’re assuming that the actual impact was far enough away from you that it wouldn’t be the immediate cause of your death. How long would it take for the air to dissipate? Would microgravity kick in immediately? Would the vacuum of space kill you within seconds? Would some of the larger pieces be able to hold an atmosphere long enough that people could float around on it for a few hours to ponder their fate?
I’m guessing that those on intermediate sized Earth-pieces would feel a jolt, feel the air pulled out of their lungs, see the sky go black and suffocate. It would be a silent and eery way to go. Unfortunately, if such an event occurred, I’d probably have to retire this blog. Though I might still be sitting at my desk, typing at my computer for a few moments as I float in space.