NASA Reports Meteor Explosion Worth 11 Hiroshima Bombs, Missed by Media

20 March, 2019, 19:36 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Meteor in night sky falling over ocean

It went unnoticed largely because of where it blew up: over open seas off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russian Federation.

The cosmic interloper, measuring about 10 meters (32 feet) in diameter and weighing some 1,400 tons, exploded 25.6km (15 miles) above our planet's surface with an impact energy of 173 kilotons.

It was the second most powerful event of this kind in the past 30 years, according to NASA data. Back then social media was flooded with videos and photos of the fireball blazing in the sky brighter than sun. If objects this large entered the atmosphere and exploded on Earth, they could potentially wipe out entire USA states.

The blast released about 40% of the energy of the meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk, according to Kelly Fast, Nasa's near-Earth objects observations programme manager, who spoke at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science conference near Houston.

Impact events are surprisingly common.

NASA is also working with the USA government to monitor these type of space rock explosions: In 2005, Congress requested that NASA find 90 percent of near-Earth asteroids that are 140 meters or larger in size by next year. That's another thing we have in our defense. NASA scientist Kelly Fast delivered the news at the 50th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in the USA state of Texas this week.

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In recent years, Chelyabinsk was the largest explosion of its sort recorded.

A meteor explosion over the Bering Sea late a year ago unleashed 10 times as much energy as the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, scientists have revealed.

Lindley Johnson, a planetary defense officer for NASA, told the BBC on Sunday that a historic asteroid exploded in the Earth's atmosphere in December that had 10 times the energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

The second-largest asteroid to hit Earth in the last 30 years went undetected, until now.

More than 1,600 people were injured by the shock wave from the explosion, estimated to be as strong as 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs, as it landed near the city of Chelyabinsk. This showed the rock was likely to hit southern Africa.

NASA and other space agencies continue to work to identify and monitor the trajectories of potentially hazardous near-Earth objects, but small space rocks with the potential to cause damage regularly evade detection.

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