BEIJING, Feb. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- The meteor explosion in Russia which left 1,200 people injured and 4,000 buildings damaged and caused an estimated damage of some 33 million U.S. dollars has generated a heated discussion about meteor and pushed various countries to strengthen efforts to counter space threats.
How common are meteorite strikes?
The meteor that exploded over a Russian city in the Ural Mountains Friday is likely to be the largest recorded object to strike the Earth in more than a century.
But according to Addi Bischoff, a mineralogist at the University of Muenster in Germany, meteorite strikes occur around five to 10 times every year, creating small impacts. And sizable meteorites, like the one slamming into Russia, take place about every five years. The reason why they go unreported is that most of them take place in the ocean or in mountains or deserts.
The meteorite strike like the one in Russia acutally happens hundreds of times a day, said Doug Duncan, the director of University of Colorado's Fiske Planetarium.
In fact, a meteor-like object fell from the sky over central Cuba on Thursday night local time and turned into a fireball "bigger than the sun" before it exploded, a Cuban TV channel reported Friday, citing eyewitnesses.
Meteor, meteoroid, or meteorite?
Small pieces of space debris — usually parts of comets or asteroids — that are on a collision course with the Earth are called meteoroids.
When meteoroids enter the Earth's atmosphere they are called meteors. Most meteors burn up in the atmosphere, but if they survive the frictional heating and strike the surface of the Earth they are called meteorites. Russia was hit by what called a “meteorite.”
Why so many people got injured in the meteor explosion?
The meteor exploring over Russia is said by some to be the largest celestial body that have hit the Earth over the past hundred years.
According to NASA data, the diameter of “space comer’ was about 15 meters and it came across the atmosphere at a speed of 64,000 km per hour. The energy shockwave was equal to about 300 kilotons of TNT.
The fireball cutting through the sky over Russia traveled at as speed of 30 km per second, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.
The meteor explosion causes countries to be alert to space threats
Friday witnessed the closest approach between an asteroid and the Earth. Although it hurtled safely past us, we may not be so lucky in future, because overwhelming majority of “NEOs” (“near-Earth objects”) remain undiscovered and small asteroids like 2012 DA14 could be powerful enough to destroy an entire city, experts said.
After the meteorite explosion, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin proposed establishing a common defense system to counter space threats.
He said he would present Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev with proposals on how to tackle similar incidents in the future.
"Humankind must create a system to identify and neutralize objects that pose a danger to the Earth," the official wrote on his Twitter account.
Local experts also advocated for the building of a common space threat monitoring and warning system.
Also, UK Space Agency engineers travelled to the UN this week to seek a deal with global counterparts in the hope of entering into an agreement. They are aiming to attracting funding for asteroid monitoring from other countries.
MOSCOW, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- About 1,200 people have been known injured and many buildings damaged since a meteor exploded on Friday morning, raining fireballs over Russia's central Urals region, the Interior Ministry said.
Most of the injured, among them 200 children, suffered cuts by broken glass from thousands of shattered windows during the very rare meteorite explosion, according to the ministry. Full story
BEIJING, Feb. 16(Xinhuanet) -- Hours after the huge meteor explosion over Ural Mountains on Friday, residents of the Russian city of Chelyabinsk had already begun to list meteorite pieces for sale on Avito.Ru, Russia's leading website for classified ads.
As many residents of the city were still nursing injuries from the unexpected blast, others were already trying to make a profit, advertising meteorite pieces for sale on auction sites.Full story
BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhuanet) -- Videos have been captured the meteorite which streaked across the sky before exploding over Russia’s Ural Mountains.
The fireball, which Russian space agency Roscosmos says was travelling at a speed of 30 kilometers per second, blazed across the horizon, leaving a long white trail that could be seen as far as 200 kilometers away.Full story
CHELYABINSK, Russia, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Life in Russia's Chelyabinsk Region returns to normal after Friday's meteorite explosion as residents start to cover smashed windows with Cellophane sheets to keep warm.
Though about 1,200 people were injured and hundreds of buildings got damaged in the shockwave, Chelyabinsk, the capital city of the region, seems to get back to its normal rhythm on a peaceful Saturday.Full story