Nasa has released pictures of a meteor impact which demonstrates the frightening vulnerability of Planet Earth.
Last week, scientists revealed that humanity’s home had suffered a surprise impact from a space object which ploughed into the atmosphere and exploded with 10 times more power than the nuclear bomb which devastated Hiroshima.
Now Nasa has released new details of the ‘fireball’, which luckily exploded over the Bering Sea so didn’t cause any casualties.
The space agency’s new images show the shadow of the meteor’s trail as well as the orange cloud it left behind.
Nasa wrote: ‘On December 18, 2018, a large “fireball” – the term used for exceptionally bright meteors that are visible over a wide area – exploded about 16 miles (26 kilometres) above the Bering Sea.
‘The explosion unleashed an estimated 173 kilotons of energy, or more than 10 times the energy of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima during World War II.’
Nasa said the object ‘was the most powerful meteor to be observed since 2013’ but ‘given its altitude and the remote area over which it occurred, the object posed no threat to anyone on the ground’.
The collision was not detected before it happened, which proves just how hard it is for humanity to detect small objects on a collision course with the planet.
It’s the biggest blast since an asteroid exploded over Chelyabinsk in Russia in 2013 – and Nasa says fireballs this large are only expected two or three times a century.
During the 2013 Chelyabinsk event, 1500 people were injured and 7300 buildings damaged by the intense overpressure generated by the shockwave at Earth’s surface.
The asteroid which ‘blew up’ over the Russian town of Chelyabinsk in 2013, is thought to have been around 60 feet across.
Smaller rocks like the Chelyabinsk object will hit our planet every 10 to 100 years, experts believe.
Humanity doesn’t need to fear gigantic asteroids big enough to wipe us off the face of the Earth, because they are easy to track due to their enormous size.
But we should be very afraid of smaller ‘stealth asteroids’ which are big enough to wipe out a city and extremely difficult to detect.
Last year, Nasa warned of a ‘vulnerability’ in Earth’s defences which means there is only a ‘limited’ chance of spotting asteroids coming from a certain direction in space.
Source: Read Full Article