A skydiver in Norway came just a few yards away from being struck by a meteorite — and the whole thing was captured on his helmet camera in a dramatic video just making the rounds of the internet now. The bizarre incident too place in 2012, and skydiver Anders Helstrup has been looking for the meteorite ever since, to no avail.
What are the chances of a skydiver coming this close to a falling meteorite — a true close encounter with a visitor from outer space? According to geologist Hans Amudsen of Oslo’s Natural History Museum, you have a better chance of “winning the lottery three times in a row,” than of coming as close as Helstrup did to a falling chunk of extraterrestrial rock.
Helstrup and several fellow skydivers had just jumped out of a small aircraft that took off from an airport in Hedmark, Norway. The skydiver was wearing a “wing suit,” that allows a falling skydiver to glide through the air rather than plummet straight to earth. But when he opened his parachute and the meteorite flew past, Helstrup didn’t see it —but he knew something was different about this jump.
“I got the feeling that there was something, but I didn’t register what was happening,” he told Norwegian television.
— NASA Goddard Images (@NASAGoddardPix) April 3, 2014
Then he looked at the video filmed by his helmet camera — the same video you can also view, below.
“When we stopped the film, we could clearly see something that looked like a stone,” Helstrup said. “At first it crossed my mind that it had been packed into a parachute, but it’s simply too big for that.”
Helstrup then figured the object might be a meteorite, but geologist Amudsen watched the film, and had no doubt.
“It can’t be anything else,” said the scientist. “The shape is typical of meteorites, a fresh fracture surface on one side, while the other side is rounded.”
The meteorite was zooming Earthward at about 180 mph when it crossed paths with the skydiver. What’s even scarier — Amudsen believes that the falling meteorite was a chunk of a much larger rock that entered the atmosphere and blew up just about 12 miles over Helstrup’s head.
Meteorites have been photographed blazing across the sky, but Amudsen believes that the film of the meteorite captured by the skydiver is the first ever taken of a meteorite in “dark flight,” the final stages after the flaming space-rock has burned itself out.