Meteorite Explodes Over Russia, is Quickly Forgotten

Not even Ben Affleck could’ve prevented this
by Zoe Sakas
List and Features Editor

Russia has been attacked…by a meteorite! NASA may have expected a meteor known as 2012 DA14 to pass 17,200 miles away from Earth around 2:30pm on February 15, they were not expecting a smaller, unrelated meterorite to hurtle through the atmosphere and collide into Russia early Saturday morning (12:50 AM). Over fifteen meters of rock flew right into Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, injuring 1,000 people with over one hundred hospitalized and three in grave condition. This was the largest meteorite to hit since 1908 and, needles to say, took everyone by surprise. It entered the atmosphere at 40,000 miles per hour and the force of its explosions broke windows miles away from where it collided. The impact led to an atomic bomb-sized shock wave, throwing many people and cars off the ground. The energy waves damaged property all over the region, including the roof of Russia’s zinc factory. The blast released more energy than that of the nuclear weapons dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WWII.

Ironically enough, the meteor that broke through Earth’s atmosphere was not a broken off piece of the 150 meteor DA14 that passed over 17,000 miles away from Earth the day before. At least that’s what the European Space Agency tweeted. The agency compared the effects of this meteor to that of the meteorite crash in 1908 (which did break off a larger meteor about the size of 2012 DA14). The effects of Saturday morning’s meteorite were much less tragic, and therefore scientists have concluded that the amount of energy released was not enough to have been a piece of the larger meteor that we were expecting. 2012 DA14 had no effect on Earth, and passed effortlessly by, 17,200 miles away, just as scientists had predicted.

As you would expect, Russia’s government was not happy with this event. With so much money put into astronomy these days, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev found it ridiculous that something this dangerous could occur. Obviously enough, the astronomers explained that it is, in fact, not possible to track and shoot down an object as it is falling from the sky at over ten miles per second. However, an early-warning system is being considered. It is a reach for scientists to be able to warn people with enough time for precautionary action to occur as a meteorite is approaching Earth. It was as much a surprise for the scientists as it was for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Since the apocalypse failed to happen a few weeks ago, Fox News claims that a popular joke going around is that the meteorite was supposed to hit on December 21st, but it was late due to Russia’s terrible postal system. All jokes aside, this serious matter has brought a feeling of vulnerability to the country and to the world similar to the fear that arose before the Mayan calendar ended in December. Without knowing what is going to happen next and whether or not another meteorite will hit Earth within the next few years, people will live with fear of the universe, something much worse than economic or political vulnerability. Considering that the dinosaurs were most likely knocked out completely by the collision of an asteroid, it would make sense to be scared, and this fear will not subside so easily.

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