Today on Discovery Enterprise we present an exciting episode of the acclaimed PBS documentary series NOVA titled Meteor Strike concerning the Chelyabinsk Event, when a 10,000 metric ton exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk with thirty times the explosive yield of the atomic bomb that exploded over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945.
This event highlights the urgent need to establish a planetary defense system to protect the Earth from future potentially deadly impact events.
A potential disaster scenario where a sizable asteroid or meteorite explodes over or impacts a major urban center can no longer be treated as mere science fiction fancy. It happened last February when over 1,000 people were actually injured. And, it will one day happen again.
On the morning of February 15th, 2013, a 10,000 tonnes asteroid crashed into the Earth's atmosphere, exploded and showered fragments over a wide, snowy area near the
According to NASA, the Siberian Meteor exploded with the power of 30
bombs and was the largest object to burst in the atmosphere since the famous
Tunguska event of 1908, also in Siberia. That
time, there were few eyewitnesses or clues except for fifty miles of flattened,
This time, the event was captured by countless digital dashboard cameras, which have lately become a common fixture in Russian autos and trucks. Within days, armed with this unprecedented crowd-sourced material, NOVA crews hit the ground in Russia along with impact scientists as they hunted for fragments from the explosion and clues to the meteor’s origin and makeup.
Their conclusions add up to a chilling picture of how close we came to a far worse disaster, which NOVA sets in perspective by looking back at much greater explosions in the past — from Tunguska to the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
"Meteor Strike" puts it all together and asks: Is our solar system a deadly celestial shooting gallery with Earth in the cross-hairs What are the chances that another, more massive asteroid is heading straight for us? Are we just years, months or days away from a total global reboot of civilization, or worse?