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Meteorite Strikes Indian Village 350

Posted by michael
from the failed-their-saving-throw dept.
PS writes "The BBC is reporting that a village in eastern India was struck by a meteorite Saturday evening, wrecking several houses and injuring about twenty people. Fortunately, no one appears to have been killed by the impact or subsequent fires. CNN suggests that a second village near the impact site may have also been struck by part of the meteorite." Human/meteorite encounters are not entirely unheard of.
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Meteorite Strikes Indian Village

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:10PM (#7080226)
    Oh no, the sky is falling, the sky is falling! :)
  • by arcanumas (646807) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:10PM (#7080231) Homepage
    I can't believe Slashdot fell for such lies!
    Have you missed the ground-shaking documentary called .... X-files?
    Had you watched even parts of this research project you would know that this was a UFO crash site , cleverly disguised as a meteor crash.
    • No, it was Homer Simpson as Paul Bunyon that caught a meteor in his ass.
    • Terminology (Score:3, Insightful)

      by The Monster (227884)
      disguised as a meteor crash
      At least you got the terminology right.
      a village in eastern India was struck by a
      meteorite
      When it was doing the 'striking', it would technically be a meteor, but the moment it came to rest on the Earth's surface it would be a meteorite. Or is it the instant it actually makes contact? Now I'm not so sure....
      • by Xzzy (111297) <sether&tru7h,org> on Sunday September 28, 2003 @08:19PM (#7081005) Homepage
        i have it on good authority that all the different names for space rocks ending up on earth were created as some sort of scientist inner circle challenge to confuse common men.

        As we all know, the first attempt was in naming stone spikes that grow in caves, but unfortunatley many people actually learned what the proper terms were.

        Names for space rocks is merely version 2.0.
  • by Cowboy Bill (118730) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:11PM (#7080241) Homepage
    Its eastern India. Please Read article first. The article also goes on to say that the only living creature to be harmed by a meteor in recorded history was an Egyptian Dog which had the misfortune to be at the wrong place at the wrong time :-) . This happened in 1911 BTW.

    • Really? I can remember seeing a black and white photo of a lady who got a bruise on her stomach, because of a meteorite went through her roof and hit her.
    • That was the only verified instance of a creature killed by a falling meteor. Numbers of people have been injured.
      -aiabx
    • Fortunately, no one appears to have been killed by the impact or subsequent fires.
      I guess the forunately part depends on whether or not your job has been recently outsourced to India. ;)
    • Meteors have killed. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Caid Raspa (304283)
      The article also goes on to say that the only living creature to be harmed by a meteor in recorded history was an Egyptian Dog which had the misfortune to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

      The Nakhla meteorite [nasa.gov] you are referring to killed just one dog. Several people have been injured by meteorites. (I remember at least one local newspaper story of a guy who got a fist-sized meteorite through his windshield at 80 km/h, and was injured when he drove off the road.)

      A meteor does not necessarily reach

  • Western India. Doh! (Score:3, Informative)

    by jpu8086 (682572) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:13PM (#7080260) Homepage
    BBC: "At least 20 people are reported to have been injured after a meteorite crashed to Earth in eastern India."

    Brief summary after the headline.

    It's eastern India. not western India. Does any one verify any stories over here?
  • Sending Aid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DWormed (711488) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:13PM (#7080262) Journal
    Does anyone know if there are any charities accepting aid money yet? It would be nice to help.

    At least after this mess is cleaned up, they will have something to tell the tourists. They can take solace in the fact that they aren't the new meteor crater.
    • Re:Sending Aid (Score:5, Informative)

      by ghostlibrary (450718) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:21PM (#7080332) Homepage Journal
      Actually, if they just gather the pieces of the meteorite and sell it, they'll have all the aid they need. An observed fall will sell for at least a dollar a gram, likely more.

      Market it as "noticed fall, [date fell] [location]", it's a couple of bucks a gram to people who like to collect meteorites.

      Market it as "chips of the man-slaying meteorite", and you could probably multiply that price by ten and sell it via Home Shopping Network. Ugh.
  • if meteor strikes in the real world look really like the ones in Armageddon [imdb.com]? Fiery, a smoky trail, and everything bounces when they hit the ground...
    • Re:I wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kbonin (58917) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @07:59PM (#7080897) Homepage
      According to a friend who saw one, it looks like a smoke trailing line that hits the ground with a large "whomph" like sound (how do you spell that?), and leaves a surprisingly small crater. A friend of mine saw one hit, a little over a foot in diameter, about 150 pounds. 2 days later it was still warm enough to set paper on fire.

      Nobody believed him when he tried to report it, other than making "Joe Dirt" references, so it's now mine. :)

      Neat side notes - The outside surface has visible feathery outside surface from how it was eroding as it traveled. Also the iron softenes up nicely - you can even see how it deformed some from the impact, and there's a smooth curved arc in the front when it rotated briefly just after impact.

      Very cool... I'd post a URL to the pics, but I don't want to pay for the /. bandwidth - I'd have to sell the damn thing to cover the bill. :)
  • I, for one, (Score:2, Funny)

    by RLiegh (247921)
    welcome our meteorite overlords, and would like to remind them that as a trusted hindu diety I could be useful in rounding up other hindus to toil away in their underground space mines.
  • Be thankful (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kethinov (636034) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:14PM (#7080277) Homepage Journal
    A meteorite of not much larger mass could have caused far more widespread destruction. I could be off on my facts here, but I remember reading about a similar event taking place in Russia, devastating several many acres of open forest. Should it have impacted a city, the city would have been leveled. Granted we're all familiar with the meteorite impact apocalypse prospect, all I'm saying is it could be worse. I wonder how many other life forms or even civilizations have evolved on other planets that were completely obliterated because of stellar impacts. Something to fear.
    • by JVert (578547)
      So what your saying is Tesla is alive and well conducting experiments [germano.com] in india?

    • Re:Be thankful (Score:2, Interesting)

      by r_cerq (650776)
      Yeap. It was in Tunguska, Siberia, June 1908. IIRC, if it had happened a few hours later, and due to Earth's rotation, it would have leveled Moscow.
      But small ones such as this happen rather frequently; in October 1992, there was one hitting NY, but the only thing it damaged was... a parked car's trunk :)
    • I could be off on my facts here [...] devastating several many acres of open forest.

      For those of us who know we don't have the facts straight, could you enlighten us on how much a many is?

      • Yeah yeah, grammar pwns me. Slashcode needs an edit feature. But no! that would be too much like joining the 21st century, wouldn't it.
    • by chrestomanci (558400) * <david@NoSpAm.chrestomanci.org> on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:56PM (#7080560)
      A meteorite of not much larger mass could have caused far more widespread destruction. I could be off on my facts here, but I remember reading about a similar event taking place in Russia, devastating several many acres of open forest. Should it have impacted a city, the city would have been leveled.
      Perhaps even scarier, is if this meteorite had been as big as the Tunguska [earthsci.org] event, it would probably have been mistaken for a nuclear explosion.

      With the ongoing cold war between India and Pakistan, the Indian military might well have shot first, and asked questions later, causing a small nuclear war, and a much greater loss of life than the initial meteorite.
    • Don't worry about it too much. A Tunguska-sized event should take place only about every thousand years [nasa.gov] on average, and would be similar in severity to a major natural disaster in a local area, like a volcanic eruption (although it would most likely be a complete surprise, so evacuation might not be possible). No worldwide consequences.
    • Worse yet, some Indian general might have gone off half-cocked and nuked Pakistan in "retaliation". AFAIK though, don't the Indians have something like NORAD that can analyze the trajectory of incoming objects and determine that the angle was inconsistant with a Pakistani missile? I hope.

    • >> Granted we're all familiar with the meteorite impact apocalypse prospect

      Yup. Someone tells a movie exec about falling meteorites, and they make a big-budget movie out of it. Total devastation.

  • Any... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Gortbusters.org (637314) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:15PM (#7080286) Homepage Journal
    super powers from the meteorite yet? =D
    • No. The idea of gaing superpowers from a meteorite is so ubsurd, it barley warrants a reply.

      --Capt. Meteorite

      • No. The idea of gaing superpowers from a meteorite is so ubsurd, it barley warrants a reply.
        Indian meteor rocks: Slashdot spelling Nazi kryptonite?
      • Jimminy Jillickers Captain Meteorite!
      • " No. The idea of gaing superpowers from a meteorite is so ubsurd, it barley warrants a reply."

        Captain, it seems to be some form of ancient English. Say whuh huh? Barley is good, beer comes from barley. The idea of gaing superpowers from a meteorite is way over my head. Utterly ubsurd.

        WTF?
  • by MongooseCN (139203) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:17PM (#7080298) Homepage
    ..a US senators house? Would NASA's funding for astroid impact studies double?
  • No way!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Neutral23 (711400)
    I thought the US government had hired Bruce Willis to take care of these meteorite thingies? Did he not manage to blow this one up in time? If not, did he survive the impact? Please, I need to know if Bruce is gonna be ok!!?!
  • .. then there was a tornado, and a flying saucer, and even a giant robot smashing the vast ammounts of constructions of huts, the mayor was reportedly quoted as saying "weaknesspays" as he rebuilds the village into a vast empire.
  • Flooding, earthquakes in Japan, drought, giant hurricanes on the east coast, fire... and now meteors devastating small villages.

    I'm kidding about the end of the world, but has it seemed to anyone else that there's been an unusually high occurance of natural disaster in the last year or so? Maybe it's just me.

    • Flooding, earthquakes in Japan, drought, giant hurricanes on the east coast, fire..

      Have all been happening since the beginning of time. It just that the US media usually only covers stories if: They affect the US, they provide a spectacle on a slow news day.

      Nearly every year, hurricanes as powerful as Isabel cause havok on populated islands, millions of people die from drought, floods destroy entire villages, but it's not the sort of thing that usually makes headline news.
    • >> Flooding, earthquakes in Japan, drought, giant hurricanes on the east coast, fire... and now meteors devastating small villages.

      JFK, blown away!
      what else do I have to say??

  • by sinjayde (661825) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:20PM (#7080322)
    I read in the local paper [spokesmanreview.com] (link about half way down - reg required) that the same thing also happened in New Orleans this week. The meteorite, which looked like a snady colored rock containing minerals commonly found in meteorites (tested at Tulane University) punched a hole through Ray Fausset's roof and two floors before coming to rest in the crawl space beneath the house, as reported.
  • Orissa gets it again (Score:5, Informative)

    by jpetts (208163) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:22PM (#7080336)
    This comes just a couple of years after the flood in Orissa [bbc.co.uk]. Wonder what the Orissans have done to piss off Jesus/Allah/Krishna so much?
  • by identity0 (77976) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:23PM (#7080344) Journal
    Okay, before everyone else posts one of those stupid Slashdot in-jokes... Please post them as replies to this post.

    In Soviet Russia, all your asteroid are belong to India!
    Imagine a beowulf meteor shower of naked and petrified Natalie Portmans Slashdotting India!
    "Where's the BitTorrent link?"

    and last but not least...
    Darl McBride: "We have good evidence that Indian villagers are stealing our intellectual property to the UNIX system encoded in million-year-old rocks... evidence will be presented shortly. In Sanskirt."
    • In india, all your meteors belong to the slushy machine.

      Please come again.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I, for one, welcome our redundant joke managing overlords.
    • I for one welcome our new meteorite overlords
    • Er, hello, has anyone seen our bluetooth-controlled homebrew robot. It was kinda zooming along when it sorta flew out of range (ie more than 5m away from us) when Joe, who was controlling it, dropped the RC when his Segway sorta 'bucked' for no apparent reason and he was thrown to the floor (weird that--anyone else had this happen to them?). We think one of its methanol power cells might be leaking too so stand well back if it comes your way 'cos Joe says it might take off with a 'whoosh' and behave sorta l
    • I can't believe you're looking for stupid Slashdot jokes when a rock from space could come down and hit us any mi

      NO CARRIER

  • by AJWM (19027) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:24PM (#7080353) Homepage
    The name of the east Indian village translates as "Smallville".
  • by brodin (200847) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:28PM (#7080377)
    At least I can get behind outsourcing natural disasters. I'm sure other folks [meteorcrater.com] won't like it though.
  • IT Jobs (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I guess IT jobs aren't the only thing heading to India now!
  • 6 villagers got trampled by a wild herd of journalists and scientists rushing to the place of accident.
  • by stompro (24721) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:36PM (#7080429) Homepage

    I was at the Field Museum this past week and got a real kick out of the meteor exhibits. They had several large metalic meteors that were out in the open free to touch. Putting my hand on it and thinking about it flying though space, to be rudely blocked by the planet earth. It wasn't it's fault that there was some stupid planet in the way... Anyway, they also had several examples of meteorites hitting houses. In once case it went through the guys garage, through his car and bounced off the cars muffler, ending up sitting on the car seat. Another one took out a guys gutter. The pictures are pretty funny, all the guys looked pretty pissed off, but it was in the 20s or 30s, maybe people didn't smile back then.
    Field Museum Meteor collection [fieldmuseum.org]

    • They had several large metalic meteors that were out in the open free to touch. Putting my hand on it and thinking about it flying though space, to be rudely blocked by the planet earth.

      ... or how about flying through space picking up who knows what kind of alien virus ... and then opening it up to the public to touch. I'm sure they have gone over it with a fine-toothed comb looking for anything bad, and I'm sure they've ruled out all bad things *known* to man, but what about the undiscovered ones ...

  • by civad (569109) on Sunday September 28, 2003 @06:46PM (#7080506)
    As of 6:30 PM Eastern Time (Sun Sept 28th), there is no mention of the meteorite strike in any major newspaper/news-website in India.

    The cnn article quotes its source as PTI (Press Trust of India) but their website itself (www.ptinews.com) doesn't mention any such thing...
    Maybe the Indian media is in deep slumber :)
  • ... We're lucky, guys; had this thing landed in a village in western India (or worse, in Cashmere), India would have blamed Pakistan for the strike and they would be merrily nuking each other right now...
    Pheeew!

    Seriously though, those guys are really, really, really out of luck!!
  • The Hammer of God (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    If a meteorite just a bit larger had hit a big city, you could be sure that by 2020 we would have honest-to-goodness space colonies and Moon and Mars bases. In his novel The Hammer of God , Arthur C. Clarke (of 2001: A Space Odyssey fame) bases his future on such a premise.

    With sufficient acceleration one basketball-size meteoride can inflict far more damage than a 9/11-style terrorist attack.

    • This page [gmu.edu] gives a detailed description of the power of a metorite which end up at 12cm radius, mass of 20.133 kg, hitting with a final velocity of 133.994 m/s. Approximately the size of a basketball I guess.

      The energy released is 180.737 kJ, in comparison, the nuke on Nagasaki released approx 84TJ , and the gravitational potential energy released by the fall of one of the Towers was 2.2TJ [hypertextbook.com], the biggest ever explosion, the Novaya Zemlya Hydrogen bomb, produced 58 megatons, or 240,000 TJ [hypertextbook.com].

      WOW!!

  • When India and pakistan were on the brink of war last year, the worry ofUS and many others was that an incident like this (on a larger scale ofcourse) would be mistaken for a missile strike, thus leading to an all out nuclear war. So, not only is it good that nobody was killed by the meteor, its also better that it happened at a much less tense time.
  • ...Planet X [xfacts.com] is coming.
  • by ctwxman (589366) <me@@@geofffox...com> on Sunday September 28, 2003 @07:35PM (#7080780) Homepage
    I am not an expert on this subject, though I played one on TV (really... but that's a long story). I know enough about meteorites to be a little dangerous.

    Though the CNN article credits Press Trust of India, a search on PTI's site found nothing (for me at least).

    When the articles talked about burning fragments, it didn't ring true. So, I went to Google to do a little quick research.

    Except for those really huge impacts, smaller meteorites are relatively slow movers in the lower reaches of the atmosphere and lose their heat rather quickly. Let me steal some work from:

    Date: Mon Nov 30 23:28:41 1998 [madsci.org]
    Posted By: Robert Macke, Grad student, Physics, Washington University
    Area of science: Astronomy

    If you have a baseball-sized meteorite of density 3.2 g/cc, using a value of 1.2 kg/m^3 for the density of air, you will find that the meteorite will slow from its approach velocity of roughly 11000 meters per second to its terminal velocity of 60 m/s in a mere 28 seconds, having traveled only 3 km. (By comparison, the speed of sound is roughly 315 m/s.) It then spends another 100 mins or so falling before it hits the ground, giving it ample time to cool down below its original temperature it gained during entry into the atmosphere. (At 60 m/s, it's moving like a fastball, but not much more. It'll still cause a lot of damage if your car or house is in the way, but it wouldn't start a fire or create any appreciable crater. It would probably be a bit warm to the touch.

    Any learned assistance would be appreciated. I'm not adverse to being shown to be wrong in a subject that I have little more than passing knowledge.
    • I found this [cornell.edu], which says that meteorites lose much of their heat through ablation, so they shouldn't be hot.

      But even if it isn't hot, Don't touch [imdb.com] it!
    • Well, the Simpsons [snpp.com] appear to agree with you.
    • by grozzie2 (698656) on Monday September 29, 2003 @01:49AM (#7082456)
      If you have a baseball-sized meteorite of density 3.2 g/cc, using a value of 1.2 kg/m^3 for the density of air, you will find that the meteorite will slow from its approach velocity of roughly 11000 meters per second to its terminal velocity of 60 m/s in a mere 28 seconds, having traveled only 3 km.

      The first problem with your math, you are assuming the meteor hits air at 1.2 kg/m^3. that's the density of air at sea level, not the density at the upper levels of the atmosphere. The real factor that matters is the angle of penetration. If the meteor is travelling at 11,000 m/s as you say, and hits the atmosphere vertically, it will encounter thin air initially. At an altitude of 6000 m, the density is already half that of sea level.

      It's far to late in the evening to drag out serious mathematics, but, suffice it to say, if the meteor size of a baseball has a vertical penetration of the atmosphere at 11,000 m/s, it's likely gonna be still travelling well above the atmospheric terminal velocity at impact. The atmospheric drag will not have caused it to shed all that velocity in the minute or so it'll take to reach impact, assuming of course it's got enough mass and density to not have melted completely due to heat from friction.

      If the angle of penetration is shallow, then yes, it'll spend a significant time in the upper atmosphere, and it'll likely be travelling at/near the terminal velocity induced by the sum of atmospheric drag, and 9.8 m/s^2 vertical acceleration applied by the mass of the earth. Essentially nothing more than a rock falling out of the sky.

  • Tomorrow there will be a mudslide that wipes out 400 people looking for survivors of the meteor. And then the monkey man will show up.
  • I guess even God is pissed about outsourcing all those jobs to India...

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