2019 feels like the peak year for the Earth to get hit by meteorite, what with the unending news cycle of complete horror. So, you may not even be too surprised by the fact that, according to Space.com, we came terrifyingly close to this very fate very recently—just this December of this past year. It was then that a “school bus-size meteor exploded over Earth with an impact energy of roughly 10 atomic bombs.”
One of the most startling things about this bit of meteor action is that not only did barely anyone realize it happened, but literally no one saw it coming—not even NASA. Despite the fact that the 1,500-tonne space rock caused the second largest meteor impact of the modern age, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration only discovered the phenomenon ever occurred because the U.S. Air Force’s missile monitoring satellites picked up the explosion over the Bering Sea.
According to Space.com’s report, “The rumble of the impact also registered on infrasound detectors — stations that measure low-frequency sound waves inaudible to human ears — around the world, giving scientists enough data to draw some basic conclusions about the sneaky meteor.”
The reason that the meteor went undetected was likely due to its 10-meter diameter, Alan Fitzsimmons told New Scientist. He went on to explain that most detection is for larger foreign bodies, meaning that there might be many more smaller meteors that we’ve been missing!
Whether you’re dreaming of global decimation by a massive meteor or you just happen to love anything to do with outer space (even when it’s a little too close for comfort), this is an incredible story that highlights just how little we really know about the great beyond and how close we came to a very Armageddon-style disaster movie scenario right here on Earth!
Images: Paramount Pictures, CW