With all the focus on Asteroid DA 2102 no one saw it coming ! In the biggest meteorite impact since the Tunguska event of 1908 in the Siberian wilderness.
This event has been quite destructive with reports of many square kilometers of glass having been shattered, along with over 1000 people injured & buildings damaged.
Amazingly there are no reports of deaths thus far. There is extensive footage all over You tube.
NASA reports on the details of the object, its trajectory & explosive power as follows:
New information provided by a worldwide network of sensors has allowed scientists to refine their estimates for the size of the object that entered that atmosphere and disintegrated in the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia, at 7:20:26 p.m. PST, or 10:20:26 p.m. EST on Feb. 14 (3:20:26 UTC on Feb. 15).
The estimated size of the object, prior to entering Earth’s atmosphere, has been revised upward from 49 feet (15 meters) to 55 feet (17 meters), and its estimated mass has increased from 7,000 to 10,000 tons. Also, the estimate for energy released during the event has increased by 30 kilotons to nearly 500 kilotons of energy released. These new estimates were generated using new data that had been collected by five additional infrasound stations located around the world â€“ the first recording of the event being in Alaska, over 6,500 kilometers away from Chelyabinsk. The infrasound data indicates that the event, from atmospheric entry to the meteor’s airborne disintegration took 32.5 seconds. The calculations using the infrasound data were performed by Peter Brown at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
So why was this missed ? Are we not looking closely enough, was the object just to small or do we need more funding ?
Despite its massive size, the object went undetected until it hit the atmosphere. “I’m not aware of anyone who saw this coming,” says Heiner Klinkrad, head of the European Space Agency’s space debris office at the European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany. Although a network of telescopes watches for asteroids that might strike Earth, it is geared towards spotting larger objects â€” between 100 meters and a kilometer in size.
“Objects like that are nearly impossible to see until a day or two before impact,” says Timothy Spahr, Director of the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which tracks asteroids and small bodies. So far as he knows, he says, his centre also failed to spot the approaching rock.
Source: Scientific American
There will I am sure be a lot more follow up to this one, including the recovery of fragments of the meteor, some of which I am sure will be large !
With all the dramatic footage and the unprecedented damage from the Russian Meteorite it is a timely reminder of our vulnerability to these objects.
There are those who are taking action to detect these objects, such as the B612 Foundation
I am amazed by how quickly this has slipped out of the news and off our collective radar. Perhaps it is something we do not like to think about ?
A kind of collective denial (it wont happen to me), I guess this is why there is a survivalist movement active around the world.
I for one am glad to know that there are organizations that are looking & putting together a plan !
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