Meteors Spotted All Over the World

The Chebarkul Meteorite explodes over Russia.

The Chebarkul Meteorite explodes over Russia.

Just a few days ago, on February 15th, reports came in about a giant explosion in the sky over Russia. Shortly after, there were reports of fireballs in the sky over California and Cuba.  All of this happened on the same day that an asteroid, called 2012 DA14,  similar in size to a small building (about 30 meters) passed Earth at about a distance of about 17,000 miles (a tiny distance astronomically speaking).

Was there any connection between this sudden burst of astrological activity? Scientists agree that it was just a coincidence. Or rather, that events like these are fairly common, and there is tremendous amount of debris floating through space which frequently comes near or impacts Earth.

As author Don Nardo points out in his book Extreme Threats: Asteroids and Comets, scientists believe there are as many as 1 billion near-Earth objects (NEO’s) in space: NEO’s are space debris (asteroids or meteorites) whose orbits push them into the inner solar system, near the Earth. Though the solar system–space–is almost inconceivably huge, the chance of these objects impacting Earth does exist, even if it’s small.

The meteorite's crash caused damage throughout the region.

The meteorite’s crash caused damage throughout the region.

The meteorite that exploded in the sky over Russia, called the Chebarkul Meteorite after the lake where most of the debris landed, is currently getting the most attention, and for good reason. The meteorite is one of the largest space objects to impact the Earth in nearly a century, when a similar meteor exploded over the Tunguska River in Siberia in 1908.  The Chebarkul Meteorite also caused some 1,200 injuries-mostly from broken glass blasted towards people by the massive impact of the meteorite’s explosion. Cameras from bystanders throughout Russia caught gripping footage of the event.

Curiosity about the meteorite abounds. Some people are even trying to profit off it. Russians in the Chebarkul vicinity have been searching for fragments of the meteorite, which they then sell to collectors and scientists for hundreds, or even thousands of dollars.

To learn more about asteroids, comets, and meteors, check out Extreme Threats: Asteroids and Comets by Don Nardo (ISBN# 978-1-59935-121-6) from your local library, or purchase it from Morgan Reynolds Publishing. For more about other threats facing the world, check out Morgan Reynolds Publishing Extreme Threats series.

-Josh Barrer

Associate Editor

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Published in: on February 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Article Inspires Controversy Over Treatment of Navy SEALs

Earlier this week, an article was released by Esquire magazine detailing the challenges currentlyUS_Navy_SEALs_insignia facing the Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama Bin Laden (note: the article contains adult language). The article explains that the SEAL, having retired from the Navy after 16 years, is now faced with a life lacking in much opportunity; having spent years focused solely on the Navy, he lacks many regular world job skills and is prohibited from talking too much about his experiences. Furthermore, the article alleges that there are a lack of services available to the retired SEAL, who now has no pension or health insurance.

The article presents a grim picture of the fate awaiting people who serve our country. Though there has been controversy and discussion about whether the picture the article paints is entirely accurate, it has at least brought attention to the issue of whether or not the government is doing enough to support veterans. SEALs, who have undergone the most rigorous training and often have the most difficulty reintegrating into civilian life, are in particular need of support when they leave the armed services behind.

To learn more about the extensive training Navy SEALs endure in preparation for their service, please check out The Military Experience. Special Operations: Training by Don Nardo (ISBN #978-1-59935-356-2) from your local library, or purchase it from Morgan Reynolds Publishing.

-Josh Barrer

Associate Editor

Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 11:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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