Imagine an asteroid hitting Earth—the impact, and then the familiar, apocalyptic shockwave and aftereffects. You’ve seen the movies: Barring the intervention of some supernaturally talented oil drillers, you know how this ends.
Now take away all the world-devastation stuff, and imagine just the impact—what it would look like, slowed down. Your vision is probably something like the video above.
The very cool footage, which comes from the American Physics Society, shows drops of water hitting tiny glass beads—meant to replicate raindrops hitting sand—at various speeds. It was recorded as a part of a study conducted by physicists at the University of Minnesota, who used high-speed photography to capture the impacts and learn more about how the drops fall and impact granular surfaces.
The result, in addition to the infinitely watchable video—which, fittingly, won the 2014 APS Physics Fluid Motion Award—was the revealing of the “interesting analogy between familiar phenomena of raining and catastrophic asteroid strikes.”
Basically, each time a raindrop hits sand, its impact is eerily similar to the one that may eventually wipe out humankind. The more you know.