Chelyabinsk Meteor Has More Impact

Is Forewarned Forearmed?

chelyabinsk meteor

Chelyabinsk Meteor has more impact than once thought.  Now scientists are saying that a warning system should be put in place in order to prevent even more extensive damage from its random assaults on Russia.

Professor Peter Brown, a Canada Research chair in meteor astronomy at the University of Western Ontario, said, “They’re really sort of like cosmic Rosetta stones: Each one tells us something unique and new about the early solar system.”

“In the case of Chelyabinsk, a few days’ to a week’s warning would have been valuable,” Brown continued. “Having some sort of system that scans the sky almost continuously and looks for these objects just before they hit the Earth, that probably is something worth doing.”

The Chelyabinsk meteor that impacted Russia on February 15th this year was thought to be about 19 meters wide. Widespread damage was reported, as well as the unfortunate occurrence of 1000 injuries.

Bill Cook, of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, informed that over the past 30 years impact rates run almost eight times larger than most state of the art research would imply. The terrific heat the meteor generates, and the ensuing damage caused by the concussion and the draft of air from, for instance, the Chelyabinsk meteor, that flows before them as they come down through the atmosphere, was truly underestimated.

After research teams all over the world looked at 20 years of investigations, their reports revealed that during this time about 60 asteroids up to 20m in size had been thrown into the Earth’s atmosphere; a more massive effect than was previously thought. Chelyabinsk meteor tops the list of these damaging events.

The Chelyabinsk meteor is the largest piece of meteor found on Earth for a great while.  Tunguska, an explosion that occurred in 1908 near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River , Russia, predated the current  meteor crisis.  “The meteor devastated 2,150 square kilometers of Siberia,” explained Lindley Johnson,  of the  NASA’s planetary science division.

“Thanks to the amount of dashcam videos, smartphones with cameras, the work of ‘citizen scientists,’ and boffins around the world sharing their data, NASA has now pieced together exactly what happened during the Chelyabinsk event,” Johnson explained.

A boffin is British slang for a scientist, engineer, or other person engaged in technical or scientific work. It is an affectionate term, but with some practical military man’s scorn for the academic brain worker.

Speaking of major boffins, Nasa stated that, “The meteorite arrived completely unexpectedly because it was coming at Earth with the Sun behind it, which hid its progress from satellite and cameras.  “It hit our atmosphere at a speed of 42,500 mph (19 kilometers per second) and the vast majority of its mass was destroyed in the detonation 23 kilometers above Russia.”

Professor Peter Brown has said that more effort should be made to create early warning systems.  Millions of objects in the.. [ten meter range].. we suspect are near Earth asteroids, that can get close to the Earth.

Chelyabinsk meteor has an impact was way beyond what scientists first posited in their initial research of the phenomenon.  For those like Professor Brown, the next step in monitoring meteors is for technical experts to develop some type of  system to minimize injuries to those below.


By Lisa Pickering

BBC News


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