Yikes! Russia hit by meteorite, hundreds injured [Video]

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Feb 15, 2013, 9:30 AM EST

Space debris almost never makes it through the Earth's atmosphere but, when it does ...

While details remain sketchy, reports are coming in saying that, sometime this Friday morning, a 10-ton meteor broke apart merely 20 to 30 miles above Chelyabinsk in Russia.  Videos have been following fast, showing bright lights and streaks across the sky, followed by loud explosions.  As of now some 500 people have been reported as injured, but that number is neither final nor official.

According to the governor of Chelyabinsk, an impact crater was found some 50 miles on the outskirts of the city.  He claims that three fragments of the meteorite have been retrieved, and that some 10,000 police officers are still searching for more.

Witnesses saw the object hurtling across the sky, followed by the sound of explosions like loud claps.  Dogs barked as car alarms began to go off in unison, and glass from windows, dishes and even TVs simultaneously began to shatter.  Thankfully, though, radiation has not spiked in any of the areas near the explosion.

Right now there are still more questions than answers.  Was this, in fact, a bolide?  What was its composition?  If it had exploded on its own, no debris should have made it to the surface.  As of now, though, the Regional Emergency Ministry has denied that there was any military airstrike, and video evidence does not seem to show that there was one.

Much more frightening, however, are reports that this was merely a preview of things to come.  NASA has reported that another, larger, asteroid designated as 2012 DA14, which measures in at 45-95 meters in diameter, is still on its way and will will come as close as 27,000 kilometers to Earth.  Could more fragments be making it through our atmosphere later today?  Scientists are saying that the meteor will come close, but we should be safe.  Still, who knows what smaller space debris it could be accompanied by?

(via New York Times and The Verge)