A study suggests that the strike rate from meteors such as the one that hit Russia in February this year may be considerably higher than was previously thought.
This video shows many different clips of the meteor and is well worth watching.
Professor Peter Brown of the University of Western Ontario said:
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.
In the case of Chelyabinsk, a few days’ to a week’s warning would have been valuable.(source)
The explosion that occurred over Chelyabinsk was caused by a rock about 20 yards wide. After entering the atmosphere, the asteroid shed dust and smoke in a cloud behind it. When it burst into pieces some 18 miles up, many on the ground felt the heat, which in some cases left people with a minor sunburn.
The shock wave it generated packed the punch of 500 kilotons of TNT, researchers estimate.
People immediately below the blast were knocked to the ground, while in the city of Chelyabinsk, 1,210 people were injured, mostly by flying glass. An international team of 60 scientists from nine countries in North America, Europe, and Asia analyzed the video footage and the injuries as well as taking eyewitness accounts. The effort was led by Olga Popova, a researcher with the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow.
The team put the mass of the meteor at between 12,000-13,000 tons when it entered the Earth’s atmosphere and said that by the end of the event some 75% of it had vaporized.
Researchers have discovered that there are many more objects of a similar size that have impacted the planet over the last 20 years, and they see no reason to think that the impacts will stop. Most have ‘detonated’ over sparsely inhabited areas or over oceans which is why they were not known about prior to the research.
Infrared detectors and sensors positioned around the globe provided the raw data for them to work with. The data suggests that about 60 impacts had taken place during the last 20 years.
Prof Brown said:
We were able to capture the occurrence rate you would expect of things like Chelyabinsk and smaller impacts. When you compare that to the numbers you get from telescopic [observations], our numbers are several times higher.
Overall, the research suggests that impacts were substantially underestimated and that the Chelyabinsk event should be a wake up call that encourages governments and scientists to work together to establish a reliable early warning system.
A massive remnant of the meteor was recently pulled from a Russian lake.
Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared. Wake the flock up!