A small object from space exploded over Russia last night. The object was believed to have weighed about 10 tons. It did an incredible amount of damage, for something so small.
A terrifying meteorite shower left more than 950 people injured, buildings devastated and the mobile network wiped out when it hit Russia this morning.
Brightly burning rocks could be seen for miles as they crashed at around 9.20am local time and one bystander described it ‘like a scene from the Armageddon movie.’
The meteorite is believed to have landed in a lake near Chebarkul, a town in the neighbouring Chelyabinsk region.
The city of Chelyabinsk, 900 miles east of Moscow and close to the Kazakhstan border, took the brunt of the super sonic impact.
This object, most likely a small asteroid, was small by space standards. The one that will near-miss earth this afternoon is far larger. If that object struck the ground in an urban area, it could wipe out much of a large city.
Talking about such a strike is one thing. Seeing it is quite another.
Reports so far indicate that more than 500 people were injured. Several buildings in the strike zone have been heavily damaged.
The last time earth experienced a strike of this magnitude was in 1908. A space object exploded over the lightly populated Tunguska region of Siberia, destroying forests for miles around. Today’s object was only about 10 tons, nowhere near the size of the Tunguska object or the asteroid that will near-miss earth this afternoon.
Years ago, before I became a pundit, I worked on NASA’s Hubble project. During that time I produced and wrote a multimedia exhibit for museums about Tunguska and the threat posed by near-earth space objects. Tunguska has spawned a century of research about space threats. We’ll see a hasty scramble now as scientists rush to get to Russia to determine the nature and composition of the 2013 object as best as they can.
Update: There are reports that the meteorite created a 20-foot crater. Wow.
More updates on next page.