NASA has released a new report that shows that the meteorite that crashed into Russia last week is the biggest to hit the Earth in more than 100 years. When the meteorite hit, it caused many people to wonder whether this was a chunk of the much larger meteor DA14 that also passed by the earth around the same time this one was crashing into it.
NASA has also made it clear that the Russian meteor is actually not a chunk of that larger meteor but was a free flying chunk that had its own trajectory. Still, the damage and power that was demonstrated by the crash shows just how much damage could be done should DA14 hit us.
NASA reported that the Russian meteor was actually bigger than initially thought, growing in estimations from 7,000 tons to 10,000 tons. The Verge reported that the force at which the meteor hit ended up being about 500 kilotons.
Kilotons is generally a unit of measurement that we save for when we are talking about a nuclear blast. This meteor hit the earth with a force that was equal to about 30 times the bomb that the US dropped on Hiroshima. Thankfully, though there is not nuclear fallout to worry about, there was still plenty of destruction.
Most reports say that as many as 2,100 people were injured and more than 3,700 buildings were damaged in some way by the blast. Final numbers say there is the equivalent of 2.15 million feet of shattered glass in the aftermath. The costs of the cleanup are expected to total more than $33 million.
NASA added that an event like this really should only be expected about 100 years, so the Russian meteor was apparently just trying to stay on schedule. When NASA’s meteor detecting ATLAS telescopes are online in 2015, we’ll have a better idea when these things are headed our way.