• Question: Hey remember when the asteroid that hit Russia. Why didn't it disintegrate before it hit Russia like all other asteroids

    Asked by shanman to Angela, Gabriele, Karen, Maria, Shane on 11 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Karen McCarthy

      Karen McCarthy answered on 11 Nov 2013:

      What hit Russia in Feb was actually a meteorite, which is a any object that has crossed into the atmosphere of another object and impacted on its surface, aka in our case, Earth. In contrast an asteroid is a large rocky-like object orbiting in space, almost like a really tiny planet.

      The meteorite that hit Russia in Feb was one of the largest meteorites to ever hit Earth, at over 55 feet in diameter. On entering the Earth’s atmosphere, it probably did disintegrate alright but because it was just so large, a lot of it still remaining after passing through the atmosphere, hence it landed on Earth in such good condition.

    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 11 Nov 2013:

      Cool, excellent answer Karen. Some of these meteorites also explode because they squeeze / compress air in front of them before they actually hit the ground. This causes the object to explode just above the ground, which usually causes much greater damage than the rock and ice itself. Have a look at some of the photos online to see the number of trees it levelled! Spectacular, and the chances of it hitting a city and VERY small.

    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 12 Nov 2013:

      Great answers guys. I don’t have much to add except this cool fact: the blast caused by the shock waves of that Russian meteorite was picked up by infrasound sensors on the other side of the world!