February 19, 2013

Meteorite Falls in Russia

The region is cleaning up after a once-in-a-lifetime space event.

Julian: A loud explosion and a fiery trail were evidence of a meteor that rocked a Russian town nearly a thousand miles east of Moscow on Friday. This college student says:

At first, I thought the war had started. Then, I thought it was a terrorist attack. To be honest, I was scared at first and then realized I had to do something and get away as fast as I could.

Experts say the meteor, made up primarily of rock or ice, blew up in the atmosphere with a force of twenty atomic bombs.

Charles Liu: If this amount of energy had been detonated at ground level, instead of ten miles up, it would have probably leveled every single building in an area the size of Chicago.

Julian: Local officials say the explosion injured more than 100,000 people and caused about $33 million in damage. People are now scrambling to find shelter against the bitter cold after the shock wave shattered windows in more than 4,000 buildings. And meteors of this size are rare.

Michio Kaku: This was huge, about the size of the house. Plowing into Russia about 33,000 miles an hour, exploding twenty miles above ground. But, you know, these things happen every few decades to centuries.

Julian: All this happening around the time a massive asteroid, known as 2012DA14, passed very near Earth – closer than many satellites. But experts say the meteors came from a different direction and are not related to DA14.

Asteroids are rocks in space smaller than a planet. When an asteroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere, it becomes a meteor, those shooting stars you see. Once it hits the Earth, that rock becomes a meteorite.

In fact, most of the meteorites that land on Earth come from the asteroid belt, an area between Mars and Jupiter where space debris collects. The Russian meteorite landed in a frozen lake, leaving a 20-foot wide hole. Russian scientists say they have already found more than fifty pieces to analyze. And now, collectors are also scrambling to find pieces to sell.

Julian Dujarric, Channel One News.


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