February 15, 2013

Asteroid strike in Russia

For the second time in 120 years, a large asteroid exploded in the atmosphere above Russia. While the first one, the Tunguska event, happened in 1908, this one happened this morning and injured 1,000 people. And we didn't see it coming...

It was a once in a decade event, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History, told TODAY on Friday, saying the impact was the physics equivalent of hitting a brick wall.

“When you hit a brick wall, you basically explode, and that’s what happened here, and it exploded in midair,” Tyson said. "There have never been any cases of meteorites breaking up at such a low level over Russia before," Yuri Burenko, head of the Chelyabinsk branch of the Emergencies Ministry, told Reuters.

This comes hours before the 150-foot Asteroid 2012 DA14 gives Earth a buzz cut... coming in lower than our communications satellites... but missing the planet. While the two events aren't connected, it does give the public and little bit of a wake up call when it oomes to asteroids. If the DA14 were to hit, it would be like someone dropped a 2.5 megaton bomb.

(If you want to learn more about asteroids...)

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