Russian Meteor Explosion Not Caused by Asteroid Flyby, NASA Scientist Says
The meteor explosion over Russia that injured more than 500 people and damaged hundreds of buildings was not caused by an asteroid zooming close by the Earth today (Feb.15), a NASAscientist says.
NASA asteroid expert Don Yeomans, head of the agency’s Near-Earth Object Program Office, told SPACE.com that the object which exploded over a thinly inhabited stretch of eastern Europe today was most likely an exploding fireball known as a bolide.
More than 500 people were injured, mostly by glass cuts when windows shattered during the blast, according to the Russian Emergency Ministry.
“If the reports of ground damage can be verified, it might suggest an object whose original size was several meters in extent before entering the atmosphere, fragmenting and exploding due to the unequal pressure on the leading side vs the trailing side (it pancaked and exploded),” Yeomans told SPACE.com in an email. “It is far too early to provide estimates of the energy released or provide a reliable estimate of the original size.” [Photos of Russia’s Meteor Fireball Blast]
Yeoman stressed that the bolide event was likely not associated at all with the incoming asteroid 2012 DA14, which will fly within 17,200 miles (27,000 kilometers) of Earth when it passes safely by our planet today.
“The asteroid will travel south to north,” Yeomans said. “The bolide trail was not south to north and the separation in time between the fireball and 2012 DA14 close approach is significant.”
Asteroid 2012 DA14 is 150 feet (45 meters) wide — about half the size of a football field — and will make its closest approach to Earth at 2:24 p.m. EST (1924 GMT) when it passes over Indonesia. It will be about 5,000 miles (8,046 kilometers) closer to Earth than the communications satellites circling the planet in geosynchronous orbits.
NASA scientists and professional and amateur astronomers around the world have been tracking asteroid 2012 DA14 since it was first discovered by a team of amateurs in February 2012. Not only does the asteroid pose no threat to Earth during today’s flyby, but it will not hit Earth for the foreseeable future, NASA scientists have said.
US tested new weapon, no meteor in Chelyabinsk – Russian LibDem leader
The firebrand Russian Liberal Democrat leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky claims that no meteor fell in the Urals on Friday, but rather the US was testing a new weapon.
“You’re like some primitive tribe. What meteorite?” he said, arguing that space is a “universe that has its own laws.”
Zhirinovsky, more known for clownish political outrage rather than his actual political platform, added: “When something falls – it’s man-made. People are warmongers and provocateurs.”
Earlier in the week, US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly tried and failed to reach Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov by telephone for two consecutive days. The State Department said that Kerry wanted to discuss the recentNorth Korean nuclear test, as well as the conflict in Syria.
However, Zhirinovsky claimed that the top US diplomat “wanted to warn Lavrov about the plot and that it may affect Russia,” RIA Novosti reported
Russian Meteor: Conspiracy Theorists Claim Meteorite Was Shot Down By Military Missile
The tale of the meteorite which smashed into an Eastern Russian town on Friday seems strange enough – but now the internet is aflame with conspiracy theories that it was actually shot down by a Russian missile.
More than 950 people were injured when the meteor streaked through the sky at about 9.20 am local time in the Chelyabinsk region, near the Ural mountains.
The 10 tonne rock caused widespread panic as it tore through the sky, before an enormous explosion – thought to be a sonic boom – shattered windows and brickwork.
A crater about six metres across has now been found on the shore of a nearby lake.
But the story grew even stranger, after a Russian news website published claims that the meteorite was shot down by the government to prevent further harm.
that’s a very neat small hole
U.S. Army tests hypersonic weapon that travels five times the speed of sound… and can hit ANY target on earth in 30mins
- U.S. may no longer rely on stationing missiles abroad
- Prompt Global Strike project to hit anywhere in 60mins
- Follows 15-ton bunker busting bomb by USAF
By LEE MORAN
UPDATED: 11:40, 19 November 2011
A hypersonic flying missile that can strike a target anywhere in the world in just 30 minutes has been unveiled by the U.S. military.
The Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), which travels five times the speed of sound, was successfully tested yesterday.
It was launched by rocket from Hawaii at 11.30am, glided south westwards through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific at ‘hypersonic speed’ before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands – some 2,500 miles away.
It comes hot on the heels of the U.S. Air Force announcement that it has taken delivery of eight, 15-ton bunker buster bombs, called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, that can blow apart 200ft of concrete.
And if it is rolled out by the U.S. military, it will mean America will no longer have to rely on stationing missiles in foreign countries.
The Pentagon did not reveal how fast the AHW, which unlike traditional ballistic missiles can be manoeuvred, reached.
Zeroed in: The weapon, which could look similar to this Falcon HTV-2, left, was fired from Hawaii, glided south westwards through the upper atmosphere over the Pacific at ‘hypersonic speed’ before hitting its target on the Kwajalein atoll in the Marshall Islands – some 2,500 miles away
Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Melinda Morgan said the test was aimed at gathering data on ‘aerodynamics, navigation, guidance and control, and thermal protection technologies’.
The U.S. Army’s AHW project is part of the ‘Prompt Global Strike’ programme.
It seeks to give the U.S. military the means to deliver conventional weapons anywhere in the world within an hour.
The AHW’s range is less than that of the HTV-2, the Congressional Research Service said in a report, without providing specifics.
Despite half the circumference of the earth at the equator measuring 12,450 miles, the maximum distance travelled by the AHW will be significantly less, as it will follow a trajectory rising into the upper atmosphere before making its descent.
The Pentagon has invested $239.9 million in the Global Strike program this year, including $69 million for the flying bomb tested yesterday, CRS said.
The news comes the day after the USAF revealed it would now be using the 15-ton bunker busting Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs.
B-2 Stealth Bombers will use the six metre long GPS guided rocket, dubbed the Big Blu and fitted with 2.5 tons of explosives, to smash open underground bunkers and tunnels suspected of containing weapons of mass destruction.
The delivery of the super bomb, and testing of the AHW, is in the same week U.S. President Barack Obama said America would act firmly against any nuclear proliferation activities by North Korea.
And it comes as an International Atomic Energy Agency report renewed calls for a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.