Death By Meteorite! Is It Possible?
Continue reading

The first time ever in modern-day history, a man was killed and three others were injured in what authorities claimed was a meteorite strike at the Bharathidasan Engineering College campus in Tamil Nadu, as per a report by The Wall Street Journal . The incident took place on Saturday (Feb 13).

However, the American space agency NASA is yet to confirm whether the mysterious object is indeed a meteorite. Laurie Cantillo, a NASA spokeswoman, said, "Our Planetary Defense Coordination Office is aware of the reports and is looking into it. So at this point the report is unconfirmed."

This bizarre incident forced us to delve deep to know more about odds of getting killed by meteorites, which are pieces of rock that strikes that Earth from outer space. Meteorites are believed to originate in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and may range in size from less than a gram to more than 60 tones.

According to NASA, "An individual's chance of being killed by a meteorite is small, but the risk increases with the size of the impacting comet or asteroid, with the greatest risk associated with global catastrophes resulting from impacts of objects larger than 1 kilometer."

Cases of injuries from these space objects are few and far between, barring the meteor sonic boom and shock wave at the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk on February 15, 2013, when 1,200 people were injured. (Dramatic footage of the incident is available on YouTube, most of which comes from the Russian fascination for dashboard cameras).

According to a list prepared by the International Comet Quarterly , three such meteorite-related incidents took place in India:
· A man was killed and a woman was injured in a "meteorite fall" on January 16, 1825, in Oriang, Malwate in India.
· On February 16, 1827, man was severely injured when he was hit by a meteorite.
· On September 9, 2003, bright fireball lit up sky in Odisha's Mayurbhanj just after sunset. According to a PTI report, at least one part of the fireball came down in a village in Mayurbhanj district, setting several homes alight and lightly injuring at least two people.

NASA had earlier revealed that on average, more than 40 tones of meteorites strike our planet. Up until now, most of us believed that people don't get hit or injured by falling meteorites, but this recent incident in Tamil Nadu drew our attention into dangers of meteorite strike.
(Image: NASA)