NASA Reports Meteor Explosion Worth 11 Hiroshima Bombs, Missed by Media


The explosion was ten times as powerful as the Hiroshima atomic bomb, hitting Earth's atmosphere at 5.20 am IST (11.50 pm GMT) on 19 December over the stretch of Pacific Ocean between Russian Federation and Alaska.

The explosion left its mark in data recorded by a network of sensors that detect infrasound, which has a frequency too low for the human ear to pick up.

More than 1,600 people were injured by the shock wave from the explosion, estimated to be as strong as 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs, as it landed near the city of Chelyabinsk.

As NASA reported, the US Air Force recorded a massive meteor explosion in December 2018.

According to NASA, that meteor weighed about 1,500 tons (1,360 metric tons), had a diameter of about 32 feet (10 meters), and was traveling through the atmosphere at about 71,582 mph (115,200 kilometers per hour) when it exploded. The Tunguska event in 1908 (3 megatons) flattened roughly 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) of Siberian forest. The event is thought to have been caused by an incoming asteroid or small comet about 100 metres across. This means that in case of an impact, it could have wiped out a considerable region of the planet. Based on estimates of the solar system's population of asteroids, such an event is expected, on average, about once per decade. The US Air Force revealed this to NASA, and the US space agency began investigating what had happened.

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Dr Amy Mainzer of the Centre for Near-Earth Object Studies at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), said: "The idea is really to get as close as possible to reaching that 90 per cent goal of finding the 140m and larger near-Earth asteroids given to Nasa by Congress".

"Even if it were a larger object we still would not have seen it in the daytime sky", Dr. Johnson said.

Near-Earth objects observations programme manager at NASA - Kelly Fast told BBC - That was 40% the energy release of Chelyabinsk, but it was over the Bering Sea so it didn't have the same type of effect or show up in the news.

NASA asteroid hunters are most concerned about identifying near-Earth objects measuring 460 feet (140 m) across, which have the potential to obliterate entire U.S. states if allowed to pass through the atmosphere, Live Science previously reported.