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back to article HYPERSONIC METEOR smashes into Russia, injuring hundreds

Up to 500 people* are believed to be injured after a meteorite blazed through the sky and smashed into central Russia this morning. The space rock, estimated by the Russian Academy of Sciences to weigh 10 tonnes, hit the atmosphere at a speed of at least 54,000km/h and is believed to have shattered around 30 to 50 km above …

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Is it my imagination, or do large meteorites always land in Russia?

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Anonymous Coward

You

I think the Mexicans would beg to differ.

(But if I had to bet somewhere on land I'd pick Russia.)

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DJV
Happy

Russia

It's a bit like alien spaceships always landing in the USA. Oh wait, it was real life and not Hollywood this time around.

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Bronze badge

Have you seen how large Russia is compared to any other country?

Most meteorites hit the ocean. The next largest target is Russia, just by sheer surface area alone. By random chance, therefore, more meteorites will hit Russia than any other country. And actually by quite a large margin.

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Headmaster

Mercator

Yes, it's big, but not quite as big as the Mercator projection suggests.

You might look at a Gall-Peter projection to align yourself with more accurate relative realities.

Or entertain/educate yourself here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gall%E2%80%93Peters_projection

* Bootnote: The political aspects of the Gall-Peters projection were part of a West Wing episode

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Mercator

Russia is almost twice as big as Canada but only slightly over 55% the size of Africa

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Re: Mercator

Africa isn't a country, it's a continent. If someone says that "Russia gets more metorites", you can't say "No, Africa gets more"... it's an unfair comparison. If they said "Asia gets more", then that would be valid.

Also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_outlying_territories_by_total_area

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Re: Mercator

Can't let that pass without an XKCD reference.

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Re: Mercator

Am I the only person who misread that as Gail Porter?

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Yes, but it is the biggest country on Earth.

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Mushroom

This is Russia!

Today in Sao Paulo (Brazil, for the geographically impaired) people were whining about how strong was the rain last night.

Meanwhile in Russia it rained rocks.

And people here think they have it rough...

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Trollface

In Russia, you don't hit meteorite, meteorite hits YOU!

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Re: Mercator

It also has a large east-west extent and since most things flying around the solar system are in the plane they are going to be going sideways on the map

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Devil

I have been saying this for years...

What is wrong with the morons?

NOW is the time to have the nukes converted for deep space, long range missions, and to get the technology and the kill / deflection into the sun rates right up into the 100% mark.

It's no use sitting on our collective arses until one day when the "Telescope Tommies" say, "Ohhhhhhhh Nooooooooo - this is going to hit annnnnnnd it's a REAL big one. How long till it hits? Mmmmmmm about 5 days."

Of course while we have had tens of thousands of nukes sitting in the silos for 50 years, doing nothing more than making profits for the banks and the military industrial complex.....

Meanwhile thousands and thousands of these "sucker punch" asteroids go coasting by silently through the darkness of space - ever so close.... ever so temptingly close.

Just waiting to wipe us all out....

Unless we wipe them out first.

The afterthought - or the people who need to be kicked into the gutter and left there.

But as I may add, there really are dumb fucks who think that having half a continent wiped out, and decades of shit in the atmosphere to wipe out most of the rest, is of less importance than the odd nuke fucking up....

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Re: I have been saying this for years...

Ok generally I think I agree, but the part where you claim nukes sitting in silos make profit for someone... they're a sunk investment (literally), paid for once, with most of the maintenance work being to keep them clean and dry. Most of them don't even have fuel in unless the US is on extremely high alert because it tends to leak out of the vents and corrode the tanks. By and large the only people making any money from a nuclear silo are the electricity companies.

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Boffin

Re: Mercator

Other fields have noticed the problem with Mercator giving a huge area distortion, astronomers often use

Hammer-Aitoff or Mollweide

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammer_projection

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mollweide_projection

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Childcatcher

In Russia, you don't hit meteorite, meteorite hits YOU!

This is true. And it is a good job that the meteorite came in at an oblique angle so as to dissipate most of the energy in the atmosphere. If it landed ant anything like vertical. Wow. Goodnight!

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Re: In Russia, you don't hit meteorite, meteorite hits YOU!

"If it landed at anything like vertical. Wow. Goodnight!"

Not really.

It was total energy wise a few hundred kilotonnes.

Unless it hit a populated area, it would be a lot less than many atomic tests.

Its STILL got to do a lot of atmosphere penetration even at 90 degrees to the surface.

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Mushroom

At that size and speed 'duck and cover' is probably all you can do :(

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Mushroom

ITYM...

... "Put your head between your knees and kiss your arse goodbye!"

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Mushroom

Re: ITYM...

Interestingly, "duck and cover" is actually good advice here as well as in nuclear attacks and this event illustrates why _perfectly_.

People were injured by glass debris. If you saw the flash from inside and stared out the window while your friend ducks and covers, only one of you is going to get a shitload of glass in your face.

Nuclear bombs shit out lots of radiating. The flux drops off with the inverse square law, while the atmosphere in the device's vicinity is superheated and rushes outward. In a small area, everyone will die; in a much, much larger area, people staring at it will get a face full of glass, photons and more. They will be scalded, blind and cut while anyone who ducks and covers will not. If it has a moderate effect on the building, people under desks will be safer.

In short; the vast majority of people effected by a given nuclear detonation _will_ be better off if they duck and cover. Unless you know factually that you're in the minority of people who are 100% auto-screwed – and you don't – it is totally legit to duck and cover.

Mushroom cloud, because, boom.

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Re: ITYM...

"shit out lots of radiating"

ahem, radiation.

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Boffin

I see nothing wrong

with 'shit out lots of radiating' as a technical term for radiation - you're pretty much fscked either way.

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Happy

Re: I see nothing wrong

*bows

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Bruce!

Fetch me Bruce and his Black & Decker right now!

And who the f**k made the decision to decommission the shuttle fleet?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bruce!

IIRC they mothballed one for "emergency" re-commissioning

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bruce!

"And who the f**k made the decision to decommission the shuttle fleet?"

Investment banks - when they attempted to trouser all our money by gambling that they could make a killing on flipping sub-prime mortgage backed securities before the regulators got around to actually questioning what the hell these securities were anyway.

Global economic crash. Re-think on public spending.

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Re: Bruce!

"IIRC they mothballed one for "emergency" re-commissioning"

I think that's from a Family Guy episode.

The shuttle is not for emergencies even when the program is fully active; it is very complicated and time consuming to prepare it for launch and sensitive to weather. Delays are rampant. Even when the fleet was live, it could take months to prepare a shuttle for flight and it usually would not do so immediately.

Which is fine for what it is, but what it isn't for is emergencies.

If they wanted to rush one up right now and money were no object, I'd bet it'd take 1 year absolute minimum and have a high risk of loss of mission or crew.

Finallly; the Shuttle cannot do missions beyond low earth orbit. It only has about 300 m/second of delta-v. This is about 1/10 what the Apollo CSM could do. Intercepting an asteroid is even harder. When one is _passing_ by the Earth you'd have to get up past Earth escape velocity. If it's coming _at_ the Earth, things get much hairier.

Again, totally OK for what it is, but what it isn't for is intercepting asteroids.

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Anonymous Coward

Not Related?

It is very easy to imagine that asteroids can travel in "clusters" with much smaller objects. Whatever created the main asteroid could have easily created shards that travel in relatively close proximity. This is a more likely explanation than it being super rare.

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FAIL

Re: Not Related?

*Ahem* Did you not read the bit about them coming from completely different directions?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not Related?

"them coming from completely different directions?"

Might be an alien asteroid defense system? perhaps they've been firing 'meteors' at the asteroid for years trying to stop it crashing into their planet/ space station sometime in the future. I expect more of these hitting the earth over the next day or two.

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Trollface

Re: Not Related?

Clearly a cunning plan.

That's exactly what THEY want you to think.

I for one....

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Re: Not Related?

Apart from the different direction, the asteroid arrives 18 hours after the meteorite strike. The Earth will have travelled about 2 million kilometres in that time, so it would have to be a huge cluster for both events to be related.

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Re: Not Related?

even if they came in different directions it doesn't rule out them being part of the same cluster.

Space time is curved remember so one of the space rocks in the cluster could have fallen out and swooped away and back round the Earth like a boomerang making it look like they came in different directions.

"Apart from the different direction, the asteroid arrives 18 hours after the meteorite strike."

that kind of confirms my swooping theory. If an asteroid swooped you'd expect it to get here first.

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Re: Not Related?

Don't get all "space time is curved" on us.

If they're in a moving group then they're subject to roughly the same forces and will follow the same trajectory. If an asteroid "swooped" – they don't, by the way – you'd expect everything traveling with it to swoop along with. Unless, of course, they're not the same cluster.

Gravity is not selective. It drops with the inverse square law and at these scales and distances the gravity gradient is irrelevant to a cluster of meteoroids. It's not going to pluck one out and send it on some winding path.

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Coat

@ScottAS2 Re: Not Related?

*Ahem* yourself. Have you never played Meteors/Asteroids? You shoot at one big one a bit, and suddenly you have four small ones, at least one of which zips off the screen to the right, then hits you coming from the left.

See? It's perfectly possible for bits of one meteor to come in from totally different directions. It also shows that you're not done once you've shot the big lump, you have to hit all the debris as well. And the alien ship that comes in firing randomly when you're too slow, and the small alien ship that comes firing at you when you're too slow hitting the big ships.

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Mushroom

And this is how it all starts...

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Pirate

Don't you mean...

... how it all ends?!

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Alert

Hello, I am bear, welcome to Russia!

Isn't Chelyabinsk the most radioactive city outside of the Prypiat/Chernobyl axis? Now pelted by HUGE METEOR? Hardcore.

> 54,000km/h

That's about 15 km/s. Not too fast, not too slow. As this is a morning impact, it must be a rock being overtaken by Earth?

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Re: Hello, I am bear, welcome to Russia!

Chelyabinsk-70, or Snezhinsk, is the most heavily contaminated city in the world, yes. Im pretty sure that this is just the city of Chelyabinsk, which is over 50 miles away.

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Unhappy

Oops

Someone's ICBM test went bad

On a more serious note this might be a good advertisement to increase near earth orbit funding.

10 tonnes of rock does not have to be much more than 2 metres across.

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Holmes

Re: Oops

"On a more serious note this might be a good advertisement to increase near earth orbit funding"

It's just the universe's gentle reminder that everyone clinging to the same small rocky planet isn't a safe bet. (civilisation wise)

Now, must go sort out some off planet backups for my data.

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Re: Oops

Gentle reminder?

More like the second (and final) warning.

I have a feeling that "three strikes and you're out" is a universally applied fundamental law of persuasion...

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Re: Oops

@John Smith 19: no more than 2 metres across? Why, that's no bigger than a wamp rat

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Anonymous Coward

Conspiracy Theory

It was Iran's failed dog rocket.

North Korean satellite thats now failed.

Israel's Anti missile rocket that misfired.

One of American/Russian spy satellite disintegrated.

Jesus angry at Pope resigning.

Aliens are testing their arrival velocity.

Martian revenge and anger at "Curiosity's" intrusion on their planet.

add more.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Conspiracy Theory

David Caeron and Boris Johnson farting thru their mouths, again.

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Re: Conspiracy Theory

David Caeron and Boris Johnson farting thru their mouths, again.

Sir, you are the epitome of wit and comedy. Do you have a nationwide comedy tour where I can hear more of your gems?

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Re: Conspiracy Theory

God frustrated at Tetris

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Alien

"Seemingly there is no reason for these extraordinary intergalactic upsets...

... Only Dr Hans Zarkov, formerly at NASA, has provided any explanation... This morning's unprecedented solar eclipse is no cause for alarm."

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Coat

Re: "Seemingly there is no reason for these extraordinary intergalactic upsets...

"Klytus, I'm bored. What plaything can you offer me today?"

"An obscure body in the S-K system, Your Majesty. The inhabitants refer to it as the planet Earth."

It has an elaborate ring in one pocket.

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