Friday, Feb 1st, a meteor exploded above the Russian skies. The explosion left about 1000 injured and over 3000 buildings damaged. NASA describes it as a "tiny asteroid." The explosion was about the same as 300,000 tons of TNT. The explosion occurred around 9:30 am local time.
The amazing footage shows the meteor streaking through the sky, leaving a large smoke plume behind it, before creating an enormous explosion. Bits an pieces are thought to be scattered through three regions of Russian, one of them being Chelyabinsk, as well as neighboring Kazakhstan. A large fragment of it was found in a lake in Chelyabinsk.
Coincidentally this happened on the same day the asteroid, called 2012 DA14, was supposed to come extremely close to Earth's atmosphere. 2012 DA14 is thought to be 45 meters -- about half a football field -- long. NASA states that it had no relation to 2012 DA14, but a separate asteroid that decentigraded as it passed through Earths atmosphere.
"They are completely unrelated objects -- it's a strange coincidence they are happening at the same time," said Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"This kind of object does fall fairly frequently, but when they fall into the ocean or desert, there is no impact on people -- so this one is unusual in the sense that it's come over a populated area," Yeomans said.
So why wasn't the asteroids foreseen? First off asteroids are small, therefore making them hard to spot in any real time for a warning. Asteroids breaking the Earth's atmosphere are not uncommon. When they do they usually land in the ocean or in the desert, hardly ever in a populated area.
"The hundreds of people injured in northern Russia show it's time to take action and no longer be passive about these threats," said Rick Tumlinson, chairman of Deep Space Industries.
Regardless the world can take a long breathe of relief.
About the company: