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Earth Space

Meteorite Strike Kills Man In India 130

knwny writes: In what is believed to be the first such incident in modern times, a meteorite strike in India killed a man and injured three others. According to police sources, a loud blast was heard at the site of the strike which also left a four-feet deep crater. Preliminary investigation by forensic and bomb experts showed no sign of any explosive substance at the scene. The second link has a picture of the supposed crater which I believe will interest Slashdotters with experience in this area.
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Meteorite Strike Kills Man In India

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  • by creimer ( 824291 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @12:27PM (#51462933) Homepage
    A cow might have died.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @12:37PM (#51463017)

    >> a meteorite strike in India killed a man and injured three others

    Isn't that a level 9 spell? Were there any related "prismatic", er, rainbow attacks in the area too?

    • Actually, Mark Zuckerberg was the one who cast the spell.

      He was pissed off at India for blocking his free Internet, so he used his Weapon of Mass Destruction. He doesn't have an ICBM with an H-bomb, like North Korea, but he has something more powerful and deadly!

      The Zuck disliked India.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Fool. That was just a warning.
      The Day of Lavos is upon us!

  • Sad but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 08, 2016 @12:38PM (#51463023)

    It's sad for his family and condolences. But man, what a unique way to go! Probably high up on my list of ways to go. No pain, no fear, just one minute you're there and the next your in the history books for being one of the few to be taken out by a meteorite.

    • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
      In this case, one minute you're there and a while later you're pronounced dead. It wasn't exactly quick. He suffered serious injuries that resulted in death.
    • by Falos ( 2905315 )
      It's probably the peak effort:fame ratio possible. Or "effort" is the first word I thought of.
    • Did anybody get an interview with the professor of vindictive astronomy ?

  • As we inhabit more and more of the planet, as we continue to expand and grow, up from 7billion to 8billion and more, we cover more and more territory, and therefore, we are more likely to be killed by falling debris.

    Of course, without a nice big one, we'll not be reduced enough to make a difference. We've eliminated predators, the only things left to kill us is ourselves or a nice big chunk of rock from space.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You can do everyone one a favor and make it 7 billion - 1.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You can do everyone one a favor and make it 7 billion - 1.

        Or -10.

        This post is sponsored by the Islamic State - enlist today and fight overpopulation.

    • We've eliminated predators

      I'm sure that groups like Boko Haram, ISIS and the rest would be surprised to hear they've been eliminated. They do a lot of preying while they're praying.

      • Boko Haram and ISIS are not predators they are prey. The real predators are the various spec op teams on the hunt around the world. These predators are also capable of designating targets for "meteor strikes"

        • Just because they're prey to our special operators doesn't make them any less predators from the point of view of the thousands and thousands of people they are slaughtering in the name of rewinding to the dark ages. They're definitely predators, as their world view requires that sort of predation in order to exist.
    • As we inhabit more and more of the planet, as we continue to expand and grow, up from 7billion to 8billion and more, we cover more and more territory, and therefore, we are more likely to be killed by falling debris.

      Technically correct: the best kind of correct.

      If I've done all the math correctly, and we assume that a single human takes up 1 m^2 of area, 8 billion humans only fill on the order of 1/100,000 of the total surface area of Earth. As the population increases, the probability of a meteorite striking a human goes from a really small number to a slightly less small number.

      In other words, you're vastly overestimating how much of the surface area of Earth is inhabited by humans.

      • I have a few exercises I give my students in which they have to make a guess at a quantity and then make a calculation to back it up. My favorite: If you marked off a tract of land in a 3x3 foot grid, and one person stood at each intersection, how many square miles would accommodate the entire world population, and what would be a country of comparable size?

        Of course, after doing the calculation, one might ponder what it would smell like...

        • I have a few exercises I give my students in which they have to make a guess at a quantity and then make a calculation to back it up. My favorite: If you marked off a tract of land in a 3x3 foot grid, and one person stood at each intersection, how many square miles would accommodate the entire world population, and what would be a country of comparable size?

          Oblig: https://what-if.xkcd.com/8/ [xkcd.com]

        • by AJWM ( 19027 )

          Without running the numbers, I can't be sure, but at a guess I'd say standing about ankle deep in the water off the island of Zanzibar [wikipedia.org].

      • by jbengt ( 874751 )
        Of course, you also need to take into account the size of the meteorite and the size of its' blast zone. It does not not need to be a direct hit to kill you, and this did not appear to be a direct hit, either.
    • we are more likely to be killed by falling debris.

      Only if "we" means Homo Sap as a whole. Your personal chances are constant.

    • >We've eliminated predators

      Only the big ones. We won the battle against bacteria but we are losing the war and so far virusses are still beating almost everything we throw at them.

    • We've eliminated predators, the only things left to kill us is ourselves or a nice big chunk of rock from space.

      The biggest killers of humans in all history are still out there, brewing up new attacks and devastations.

      Disease bacteria. Opportunistic wound-invading, skin-attacking and gut-attacking moulds, viruses and bacteria.

      And of, the biggest killer of all - other humans, by various means.

  • For a country with high population density as well as area, I'd say India was asking for it...
    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      For a country with high population density as well as area, I'd say India was asking for it...

      Tamil Nadu has about the same population density as Aruba, San Marino, and Mayotte. India as a state is ranked 33 in the world for density.

  • Don't nobody piss of my man Sephiroth.

  • That man needs to go buy a lottery ticket ... oh wait.
  • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @12:52PM (#51463177)
    CNN [cnn.com] shows a roped off area in what appears to be a small thicket, while the second link shows a crater in a rice paddy. If you read the article in the second link, the 4th paragraph mentions another incident believed to be a meteorite struck a rice paddy on Jan 26. So the caption on that image is probably incorrect.
    • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @01:00PM (#51463255)

      Yeah it looks like the image is from the first strike, not the second. It says the guy who was killed was going to a water tank to drink and that it damaged the water tank and several vehicles. That doesn't sound like something that landed in the middle of a rice paddy.

      What I find strange is that there was a strike on Jan. 26th, and so a scientist was camping in the area, and then another strike in the same area only a couple weeks later. What are the odds of that?

      • by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @02:30PM (#51463973) Journal

        Bad Astronomy [discovermagazine.com] talks about the odds of getting killed by one as 1:700,000. But this includes extinction events, etc. You are more likely to die by meteorite than terrorist apparently.

        I couldn't find any odds of getting hit by one, never mind two falling in the same area within the space of a couple of weeks, but I think it would be much lower than getting hit by lightning (1:960,000). About 500 meteorites hit the earth each year. There are 138 million lightning strikes per year. So, not accounting for population density, I would estimate that your odds of getting hit by a meteorite is 1:265,000,000,000 (1 in 265 billion).

        Roughly.

        • Bad Astronomy talks about the odds of getting killed by one as 1:700,000.

          I thought that 700,000 number looked suspiciously low, but when allowing for a "humanity extinct" situation, the large population cancels out the small chance to some extent. I wonder what problems we spend an inordinate amount of resources on that are less of a threat. Intuitively, once every 100,000,000 years seems like nothing to worry about, but the damage is unimaginable. It seems like the inverse at the other end of the scale from the "don't worry about driving but afraid to get on a plane" thing.

      • What I find strange is that there was a strike on Jan. 26th, and so a scientist was camping in the area, and then another strike in the same area only a couple weeks later. What are the odds of that?

        I would say very high. It could have been an orbiting rock that broke into pieces some time in the past (for whatever reason), each piece continuing to follow more or less the same orbit but slightly separated in time.

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          It was a couple weeks later. The earth would have spun on its axis ~14 times in the interim. Not to mention traversing 3%-4% of its solar orbit.

          At best the odds are higher they'd hit the same hemisphere (north or south) if they were from the same source.

        • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @06:01PM (#51465487)

          This [wikipedia.org] is what happens when an object breaks up and the pieces strike a planet, you get a line of impacts. If these fragments both came from the same object then they would have to be very far apart, so the breakup of the object would have happened long ago, and even so they still probably wouldn't strike in the same place. The Earth is not stationary, the equator is rotating at around 1,000 miles per hour and the planet is moving through space at 67,000 miles per hour. So for 2 impact events that occur 11 days apart, you're talking about the earth moving over 17 million miles through space during that time and completing around 11 rotations. If you think that these fragments came from the same object then you're talking about something that must have been in geosynchronous orbit, where the object was orbiting the planet roughly above the area where they came down (probably a little "farther"), and it took one fragment 11 days longer than the other to fall from orbit. They've already identified rocks as belonging to the object that fell, so we aren't talking about man-made space junk, and there aren't any rocky satellites in geosynchronous orbit. In fact, the only rocky satellite in orbit around the planet is the moon, and it is most definitely not in a geosynchronous orbit. The odds are anything but "very high".

          • That 67,000 miles per hour number is relative to the sun. The entire solar system orbits the galaxy at nearly 500,000 miles per hour relative to the galactic center.

    • This [newindianexpress.com] is probably a better picture. I hope it's legit.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @12:53PM (#51463185) Journal

    Was he wearing a dinosaur suit, by chance?

    • by Nidi62 ( 1525137 )

      Was he wearing a dinosaur suit, by chance?

      Could be guerrilla marketing for the new Independence Day movie gone horribly wrong.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I always hated Barney anyhow. Glad The Universe does also.

  • North Korean ICBM ..
            effective range world wide / blast area 1 meter

  • by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @01:10PM (#51463327)
    Was wondering why I didn't receive a call back from Bob in customer service.
    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      wondering why I didn't receive a call back from...customer service.

      No, Comcast is always that way, meteor or not.

      Although, I hope there is a Big One with their name on it anyhow.

  • The WSJ article says fragments thrown out from the impact were what killed one person and injured others (and damaged things). Not really what we all expected, i.e. a meteorite fell right onto someone - in which case there'd be little to no identifiable organic material left.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I was hoping he'd end up like Wiley coyote, one big flat pancake.

    • I think you are probably wrong. A small meteorite will likely wind up at terminal velocity long before it gets to the ground, so it won't be whizzing in at miles/seconds, maybe a few hundred miles an hour. Still a bad day if it hits you, but it won't likely vaporize you or turn you to plasma entirely.

      • by Dantoo ( 176555 )

        Nah. If that crater was caused by a small meteorite it wasn't travelling at a few hundred miles an hour. If the ejecta had sufficient energy to maim and kill, either the meteorite has transferred momentum from it's great mass or great velocity (or a useful combination of both). Let's try and bury the old Slashdot shibboleth about how meteorites just fall to earth like stones from the top of the Empire State building. More than willing to hear from somebody better equipped.

        A meteorite entering at as near

  • by rgbatduke ( 1231380 ) <rgb@phy.duke. e d u> on Monday February 08, 2016 @01:21PM (#51463413) Homepage

    ...as one can easily see. This is a crater in the middle of a paddy field. The regular array of tufts of greener is planted rice. The crater is order of a meter across or maybe a bit less (scale from the array of rice plants) and is formed in soft paddy mud that has had all of the rocks and solid material removed over as many as hundreds of years. This strike didn't kill anyone.

    From the article, the second strike was near a tank -- which is basically a large open well sometimes surrounded by or even formed out of stone or masonry, typically NOT located in the middle of a muddy, flooded rice paddy -- injured several people and killed one, which means that it had more energy than the rice paddy strike and likely hit ground solid enough to cause significant shrapnel. A rice paddy is pretty close to a perfect environment to NOT cause a lot of shrapnel.

    Just sayin'. I'm guessing the newspaper had a stock photo of the first hit and figured most people would be too ignorant to detect the "error" and wanted to be first to press to get wider reading and didn't wait on somebody going to photograph the actual crater.

    rgb

    • Ya can't have long newspaper articles when your readers are pooping in public. They need to get their business done fast.

  • by JakartaDean ( 834076 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @01:34PM (#51463535) Journal
    Given the small impact crater (60cm according to CNN) and the police statement that they have a piece of whatever fell to earth this seems unlikely to be a meteorite to me. If it was big enough to leave remains, and moving as fast as a meteor then I don't see how the crater could be so small. More likely IMO to have been a bit of space junk [wikipedia.org] from one of the many satellites and stuff up there.
  • From TFA:

    a college employee, who had gone to drink water suffered serious injuries and was declared dead

    And then there's a photo of a crater in the middle of a muddy rice paddy. And I thought Flint Michigan had problems with drinking water.

  • Sounds like an act of Flying Spaghetti Monster. If only he was wearing his colander, he would have been spared.
  • That's what you call a "shooting" Star!

    Get it? Dead by a "Shooting" star?

    Ok I'll walk myself out...

  • ... to prevent any further cases of meteorites landing in inhabited areas.
  • $1473!

    And people think insurance companies are cheapskates!

    • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

      Even an insurance company can't shake down God for money. He's got better lawyers than they do.

      I mean, His acts are literally excluded from almost every contract ever written by a lawyer. Talk about having a good legal team.

      • Even an insurance company can't shake down God for money. He's got better lawyers than they do.

        You sure about that?

        An engineer died and reported to the pearly gates. An newly annointed angel, filling in for St. Peter, checked his dossier and grimly said, "Ah, you're an engineer; you're in the wrong place." So the engineer was cast down to the gates of hell and was let in.

        Pretty soon, the engineer became gravely dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and began designing and building improvements. After a while, the underworld had air conditioning, flush toilets, and escalators, and the engineer was becoming a pretty popular guy among the demons.

        One day, God called Satan up on the telephone and asked with a sneer, "So, how's it going down there in hell?" Satan laughed and replied, "Hey, things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."

        God's face clouded over and he exploded, "What? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake; he should never have gotten down there; send him up here." Satan shook his head, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff, and I'm keeping him."

        God was as mad as he had ever been, "This is not the way things are supposed to work and you know it. Send him back up here or I'll sue." Satan laughed uproariously, "Yeah, right. And just where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"

  • Imagine how many meteorites it took to wipe out the dinosaurs then?
  • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Monday February 08, 2016 @08:27PM (#51466281)

    The True Story of History's Only Known Meteorite Victim [nationalgeographic.com]

    "On a clear afternoon in Sylacauga, Alabama (see map), in late November 1954, Ann was napping on her couch, covered by quilts, when a softball-size hunk of black rock broke through the ceiling, bounced off a radio, and hit her in the thigh, leaving a pineapple-shaped bruise..."

  • He was probably on his way to cash in his winning lottery ticket.

  • Neither does the article. How big is the hole? What sort of blast would it have been? Sonic boom? How about a dazzling flash? Hell's teeth, the meteor that exploded over Chelyabinsk killed a dashcam when it popped.

Bringing computers into the home won't change either one, but may revitalize the corner saloon.

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