According to a NASA report, huge cosmic fireball explodes over Atlantic but no one seems to notice, except for some military sensors at best. The incident occurred Feb. 6 off the coast of Brazil. Researchers explained that the space rock exploded over the ocean at 620 miles off the coast.
Experts said that the object exploded with the energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, i.e. 13,000 tons of TNT energy, making the event the largest since the Chelyabinsk explosion three years ago.
The Chelyabinsk meteor injured about 1,500 people after it exploded above a populated area in Russia. That space rock exploded with the force of 500,000 tons of TNT, which is several dozen times greater than the latest fireball.
Astronomer and popular science blogger Phil Plait said that the latest impact was ‘pretty small’ since the public didn’t learn about it until several weeks after it happened. Experts believe that if the fireball exploded over a city or other inhabited areas, the damage would have been minimal.
Plait estimates that the latest space rock must have been around seven meter wide. NASA said that the explosion occurred 18 miles above sea level, or 6 miles above the atmospheric layer where weather happens.
There were no local reports of the explosion, but scientists believe taht the military must have noticed it. Yet, no one panicked because similar explosions occur several times every year.
Yet, we should worry about larger objects. NASA is running a program to track near Earth objects (NEOs), i.e. meteors, comets, asteroids, and other space rocks that pass damgerouslly close to Earth and even have a high chance of hitting us. So, far the U.S, space agency detected 12,992 NEOs. of which 1,607 have a relatively large potential of crashing into Earth.
Last fall, NASA released a statement, saying that there is no evidence to back the hypothesis of an asteroid or other space object heading towards our planet. Paul Chodas, project manager of NASA’s program to monitor NEOs added that no NEO ‘has credible chance’ of hitting our planet over the next 100 years.
Another space rock that will whizz dangerously close to Earth is asteroid 2013 TX68, which is expected to fly by us on March 5. Researchers said that the 100-ft-wide space rock will zip past us at 11,000 miles which is more than 20 times closer to our planet than the moon.
Image Source: Wikimedia