Meteor Strike: Can We Spot The Next Big Asteroid in Time?

Dashboard cameras captured footage of the Chelyabinsk meteor from all across the city
Dashboard cameras captured footage of the Feb. 15 Chelyabinsk meteor from all across the city

On the morning of February 15, 2013, around 9:26 a.m. local time, the sky above the Siberian town of Chelyabinsk was sliced by a bright streak of light, ending in a flash brighter than the Sun and sending glass-shattering shockwaves thundering across the region several minutes later, breaking windows and injuring over 1,000 people. The culprit was a 10,000-ton chunk of rock and iron that impacted Earth’s atmosphere, exploding 15 miles up with the force of 3o Hiroshima bombs. Not much physically was left of the meteor afterwards, but one thing that has remained is the unnerving question: will this happen again, and where?

That question is what sent scientists scrambling for answers, even traveling halfway around the world to find out more about this brief — but volatile — visitor from outer space. And in a tradition of learning spanning nearly 40 years, PBS’s NOVA series takes you right along with the research in the excellent program “Meteor Strike.”

Find out how you can win a free copy of the DVD below…

The February 15, 2013 meteor over Chelyabinsk was the largest object to burst in the atmosphere since the Tunguska event of 1908, which was also in Siberia and left few eyewitnesses or clues. But this time the event was captured by digital dashboard cameras, now ubiquitous in Russian vehicles. Within days, NOVA crews joined impact scientists in Russia as they hunted for clues about the meteor’s origin and makeup. From their findings, it’s clear we came close to a far worse disaster, which NOVA sets in perspective by looking at greater explosions from the past, including Tunguska and the asteroid that helped end the reign of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

“This was probably something bigger than we ever expected to see in our lifetime.”

– Mark Boslough, University of New Mexico professor/Sandia National Laboratories

“Meteor Strike” asks: Is our solar system a deadly celestial shooting gallery with Earth in the crosshairs? And what are the chances that another, more massive asteroid is heading straight for us?

Meteor Strike: another great science program from NOVA!
Meteor Strike: another great science program from NOVA!

“Meteor Strike” puts you alongside scientists as they hunt for clues about the Chelyabinsk meteor, what it was made of, where it came from, and why it exploded the way it did. Discover what this event tells us about the solar system we travel through every single day, and what we’ll need to do in the future to prevent such an event — or worse — from occurring over a more highly populated area.

It’s an exciting adventure, but also one that reminds us that we are definitely not alone out here.

“Right now, we’re driving around the solar system without any insurance.”

– Rusty Schweickart, Apollo astronaut and founding member of B612 Foundation

In the video, you’ll learn:

•  What happened during the impact over Chelyabinsk from eyewitness accounts;
•  How scientists determined the size, mass, and direction of the asteroid;
•  What asteroids are made of and how that affects how they impact Earth;
•  Why the Chelyabinsk meteor wasn’t spotted beforehand — and what researchers are doing to prevent another surprise.

“Meteor Strike” is available for purchase on the ShopPBS site here for $19.99.

Want to win a free copy of “Meteor Strike?” Send an email to lightsinthedark “at” with the subject line “NOVA DVD” and I’ll select three winners next week to get a copy in the mail! (U.S. addresses only, please.) *This contest has ended.*

You can also watch the presentation in its entirety on the NOVA site here.

Every now and then I will receive books or DVDs to review. I’ll do this gladly, if the subject matter is appropriate, but I always make sure that comes with the condition that some will be made available to my readers as a giveaway. Spread the space love!

One Comment

  1. Jeff Barani says:

    And like my address isn’t U.S…. is still not for me !! Sob sob…
    Jeff Barani form Vence (France)


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