February 15, 2013
Large Meteor Strike Injures 1000 People In Russia
A meteor struck through Russian skies on Friday, injuring at least 985 people, according to a report by BBC.
Although no deaths have been reported, this incident highlights the dangers that face us if an asteroid, such as 2012 DA14, makes its way towards Earth.
As reported by redOrbit, the Russian meteorite was about 10 tons, and entered the Earth’s atmosphere at a speed of 33,000 miles per hour. The space rock left a crater 20 feet wide on the shore of a lake.
Debris fell across the west Siberian region of Tyumen, as well as a town in Chelyabinsk region.
“It was quite extraordinary,” Chelyabinsk resident Polina Zolotarevskaya told BBC News. “We saw a very bright light and then there was a kind of a track, white and yellow in the sky.
“The explosion was so strong that some windows in our building and in the buildings that are across the road and in the city in general, the windows broke.”
According to Russian Minister of Civil Defense Vladimir Puchkov, the impact damaged around 297 homes, 12 schools, and some other facilities.
Russia has dispatched an emergency response team, consisting of over 20,000 people, with 3,000 pieces of equipment and eight aircraft at their disposal.
“Our priority task is to get practical help to the people in the disaster zone and ensure they have all the essentials for life,” Puchkov said in a statement. “We recommended that a number of enterprises stop work so that people can go home, assess the damage, and take the needed heat insulation measures.”
He mentioned that a lot of buildings had shattered windows and the daytime temperature is minus five, so a priority is to keep some people warm.
Puchkov used this incident to talk about how necessary an early warning system for potentially hazardous asteroids is.
“The astronomy side of this event is of interest to the specialists of course, but of greatest priority to us, and to your ministry, is the question of warning the public about such events insofar as is possible of course. As I understand it, there is no effective monitoring system in place in the world as yet,” he said in the statement.
Today, asteroid 2012 DA14 will be whizzing past Earth at 17,200 miles per hour. The damage Russia has sought from this 10-ton asteroid is nothing compared to what this 150-feet diameter behemoth could be capable of in the future. This event highlights the need for space agencies, and private companies such as Planetary Resources, to get cracking on their plans to have a more effective early-warning system for these asteroids.