The asteroid feint & the meteor punch

The universe did to the earth what a boxer does to his chump opponent, feinting with his right as a distraction, then punching hard with his left.  On the very day we were concentrating on the near miss from the asteroid, which passed within the orbit of some of our satellites, a 55-foot-long meteor, weighing 10,000 tons and traveling 44,000 miles per hour, slammed into Russia with the energy of 30 nuclear bombs.  Most of that was absorbed by our atmosphere, but the shock wave injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of houses.

From the London Telegraph:

The 55 foot wide rock, said by NASA to have a mass of 10,000 tonnes, lit up the sky above the Urals region on Friday morning, causing shockwaves that injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of homes in an event unprecedented in modern times.

NASA estimated that the energy released as the meteor’s disintigrated in the atmosphere was 500 kilotons, around 30 times the size of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

It entered the atmosphere at 44,000 miles per hour, taking 32.5 seconds to break up at an altitude of around 15 miles above the earth’s surface.

The resulting explosion created a shockwave that blew out windows and set of car alarms in Chelyabinsk two and a half minutes later. . . .

The strike brought traffic to a halt in the industrial city of Chelyabinsk as residents poured out on the streets to watch the light show before hovering for safety as a sonic boom shattered glass and set off car alarms. Most of the injuries were caused by glass.

“We have a special team working… that is now assessing the seismic stability of buildings,” Vladimir Puchkov, the Emergencies Minister, told residents as he inspected the damage in the city.

“We will be especially careful about switching the gas back on,” he said in televised remarks.

The meteor explosion appears to be one of the most stunning cosmic events above Russia since the 1908 Tunguska Event in which a massive blast most scientists blame on an asteroid or a comet ripped through Siberia.

via Russian meteor hit with force of 30 Hiroshima bombs – Telegraph.

So should we turn our attention to protecting the world from asteroids and meteors, developing the capability to identify objects headed our way and to send missiles to destroy or deflect them?  We’ve been developing the technology to shoot down missiles from earthly enemies.  Shouldn’t all of us earthlings rally together to attend to missiles from outerspace?

Meanwhile, you’ve got to see the videos of the meteor; for example, this one:

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About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • the Old Adam

    “Meteor punch”.

    You might have something there.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Shouldn’t all of us earthlings rally together to attend to missiles from outerspace?”

    By “rally” do you mean additional taxes on everyone for a “meteor defense” program?

    And what do we do about a nearby (< 100 light-years) star going supernova? There are none nearby likely to do so, but in a million years new stellar neighbors might be a problem. Then there are rogue planets, stars, and black holes.

    And what about when Phobos spirals into Mars (sometime within the next 10 million years)? That collision will hurl hundreds of thousands of meteors into space, many of which will come crashing down on Earth.

    And how expensive a defense are you going to need when the entire Andromeda Galaxy collides with our Milky Way Galaxy in a mere 4 billion years?

    Maybe it would just be cheaper (and safer) to move out of the neighborhood and into the suburbs of the Local Group.

  • Abby

    Well, I guess we do need a “Death Star” for defense from outer space.

  • helen

    It would seem like this catastrophe, along with some others, would be covered under “Deliver us from evil”.
    Or failing that, (e.g., recent hurricanes and snowstorms in , gasp the Northeast) “Thy will be done.”
    [Snowstorms in Minnesota/the Dakotas aren’t news. “Don’t they happen year round out there?”] 😉

    Unless the Cayman Islands are in immanent danger, I don’t think we can afford the expenditure.

  • Hanni

    Great pictures, thanks, the sky was beautiful

  • Pete

    Henny Penny was right.