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Earth Science

Russian Meteor Largest In a Century 196

Posted by Soulskill
from the bruce-willis-back-to-standby dept.
gbrumfiel writes "A meteor that exploded over Russia's Chelyabinsk region this morning was the largest recorded object to strike the earth in more than a century, Nature reports. Infrasound data collected by a network designed to watch for nuclear weapons testing suggests that today's blast released hundreds of kilotons of energy. That would make it far more powerful than the nuclear weapon tested by North Korea just days ago, and the largest rock to strike the earth since a meteor broke up over Siberia's Tunguska river in 1908. Despite its incredible power, the rock evaded detection by astronomers. Estimates show it was likely only 15 meters across — too small to be seen by networks searching for near earth asteroids." Today's meteor event came a day after California scientists proposed a system to vaporize asteroids that threaten Earth. Of course, the process needs to be started when the asteroid is still tens of millions of kilometers away; there's no chance to shoot down something that's already arrived.
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Russian Meteor Largest In a Century

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  • Still overdue (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday February 15, 2013 @05:14PM (#42916641)
    They say to expect a Tunguska sized one once a century and this one wasn't that big. They mostly ocean explode or strike so there's few signs of them but an ocean strike can be worse than a land one given the water they displace. They've got to wake up and start properly funding the near Earth program. It still won't protect against rouges but at least they can map ones that cross our orbit.
  • Re:Nature is wrong (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @05:38PM (#42916955)

    Or is it a meteor that hits, only becoming a meteorite at the moment of contact?

  • Re:Still overdue (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Friday February 15, 2013 @05:46PM (#42917057)
    this thing was 15 meters across, jet black, and moving like a bat out of hell. To paraphrase people that look for near earth objects "Its invisible until it hits the atmosphere."

    The sad fact of the matter is, no matter how much money you pour into programs to locate and track near earth objects, there is no way to detect objects of this size and velocity with any degree of reliability.
  • Re:Russian Meteors (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 15, 2013 @06:30PM (#42917497)

    How much do you make by ripping videos off and stuffing them with ads? Does Youtube really pay you to do that?

  • Re:Still overdue (Score:4, Interesting)

    by symbolset (646467) * on Saturday February 16, 2013 @02:24AM (#42920203) Journal
    If only there were some part of the spectrum we could use to look against the cold background of space for an object that absorbs all the visible light that hits it in a region of space where the sunlight pours down more than at noon in the Sahara, 24 hours a day. If only we could invent 'heat vision' something like that should stand out like a neon sign. Too bad that is impossible.

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