Wow! Extremely Cool! Meteor Strikes in Russia

One sort of person will be asking what this has to do with the asteroid that will be passing the earth today (my bet was “related” though the news reports are saying otherwise, so it looks like I’m wrong). Another sort of person will be asking what this has to do with the resignation of Pope Benedict and the supposed prophecies of St. Malachy and Medjugore. My bet is “unrelated”, particularly since the prophecy of St. Malachy is a forgery and Medjugorje is a complete fraud.

If the story makes you nervous, consider what a grace and blessing it is that it was this tiny pebble that struck earth and not the asteroid that will by at roughly the distance of the moon a little before noon PST today. That impact would have probably led to mass extinctions beginning with organisms at the top of the food chain–like us.

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  • Kirt Higdon

    About 500 people have been reported injured from the explosion; so far no fatalities reported, thank God. I don’t think “extremely cool” is exactly the right phrase for describing catastrophes, whether natural or man-made.

    • Mark Shea

      Broken windows, a few cuts and scrapes do not constitute “catastrophe”. No serious injuries have been reported. If I were there, I would be bragging about my injuries for years to come. Some things are worth it.

  • Old Man
  • “joe”

    these things seem to happen in russia alot.
    hmmm …

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    First Tunguska. Now this. I’m betting the Russians will be the first to meet the herald of Galactus as well. Why is that, do you think?

    My compassion goes out to any that were injured. But I have to share Mr. Shea’s wonder at this awesome sort of destructive beauty. I’ve often wondered why destruction can sometimes be beautiful. Not only in things like thunderstorms and hurricanes, but I confess I’ve always found a truly awesome beauty in nuclear mushroom clouds. They’re horrific, yes. But horrifically beautiful in a way. And I’m not sure why.

    • Dan Berger

      Could be that Siberia is the largest continuous stretch of land on the planet. How many 4-ton objects blow up over the Pacific Ocean, with nobody there to notice?

  • Matt G

    The asteroid that will pass the Earth today (far closer than the Moon actually…it will be inside the orbit of our GPS satellites) would not cause extinctions if it were to hit earth. It is roughly the size of the object that created the Arizona crater and the object that impacted over Siberia in 1908.

    • RFlaum

      I did some quick back-of-the-envelope math, and I calculate that if it struck earth, it would have (at time of impact) approximately 1.55 * 10^16 joules of kinetic energy, which is about 3.7 megatons of TNT — destructive, but smaller than some nuclear weapons that were built in the Cold War (though I think we no longer build them that big).

  • Steve P

    I had to chuckle yesterday. Our local NPR affiliate announced the asteroid thing (first I’d heard of it) with a promo for “Science Friday” program. This was immediately followed by the test of the emergency alert system. Awesome.

  • KML

    My son and I listened this morning to the webcast/Q&A session with the media on the NASA channel this morning about the passing asteroid. After a very informative and engaging session about all the possibilities in the future for studying asteroids, etc. (I always get a kick out of how excited they get), literally the first question from a reporter was something like, “Ok, I know you said it’s not coming close to the earth, but IF IT DID what would be the scale of destruction and how many people would be killed?”

    Ah, media. It’s so nice to know sometimes that you totally miss the point and get all panicky and arm-wavy about other things, too.

  • Joe,
    Without being glib, there’s a lot of Russia for these things to fall in – at some times of day, if an object is approaching the northern hemisphere it’s likely that Russia is probably the only place it’s going to hit. They have 11 time zones.

  • The True Will

    We have to find the Colorado Kid before the Hunter!