Earthlings were incredibly humbled today as we were reminded that we live on an enormous piece of rock that is barreling through outer space along with billions of other pieces of rock that can bump into each other at anytime.
In two completely separate incidents that scientists are saying had nothing to do with each other, a 150 foot asteroid flew within 17,150 miles of Earth today, making it the closest known flyby for a rock of its size.
In what can only be described as a chilling coincidence, a smaller meteorite exploded above Russia causing extensive damage just hours before the asteroid made it’s historic pass.
As for the back-to-back asteroid and meteor events, “this is indeed very rare and it is historic,” said Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science. While DA14 is about half the length of a football field, the space rock that shook Russia “is probably about on the 15-yard line,” he said.
“Now that’s pretty big. That’s typically a couple times bigger than the normal influx of meteorites that create these fireballs,” he said in an interview on NASA TV. “These fireballs happen about once a day or so, but we just don’t see them because many of them fall over the ocean or in remote areas. This one was an exception.”
Now just think about that last quote, everyday a huge piece of rock from outer space hits the Earth. Did anyone see the video of the meteorite blasting out of the sky from a windshield camera of a Russian motorist?
Yes, it is arguably the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen captured on video – but at the same time I think I would have pooped my pants thinking it was the end of the world. And now scientists are saying that happens somewhere in the world everyday?
NASA had Asteroid DA14 on it’s radar and knew it’s exact path so there was never any chance of imminent danger, but the little one that ripped through the morning sky in Russia, what if that one were to hit a densely populated area like lower Manhattan?
Friday’s meteor — just 16 hours in advance of DA14’s point of closest encounter — further strengthened the asteroid-alert message.
“We are in a shooting gallery and this is graphic evidence of it,” said former Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart, chairman emeritus of the B612 Foundation, committed to protecting Earth from dangerous asteroids.
Today we also learned that it’s not the big ones that we see coming years in advance to be concerned about, it’s the little unpredictable ones that can crash into Earth’s surface at over 30,000 miles an hour.
For more on the story, check out [HuffPost]