Thursday, March 13, 2008

Heads Up!

On September 16, 2007, a meteor traveling at 24,000 km/hour struck into the southern Peruvian town of Carangas. This 1 to 2 meter-long boulder created a 15 meter deep crater, shown above two days after impact.

Previous theories stated that objects like this would break apart and scatter before reaching the ground. New analysis of particles at the crash site indicate that the meteor stayed intact as it streamed through the Earth's atmosphere. Research presented this month at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference suggests that the fragments were likely trapped and smoothed into an aerodynamic shape by the shock wave created by its movement through the atmosphere.

The meteor's surprising arrival is making the scientific community question how many more may have similarly crashed into Earth. Although, I can't help but wonder how many more are still to come...

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