1000-pound meteorite crashed in Texas; it had energy of 8 tons of TNT

A meteorite weighing nearly 1000 pounds turned into a fireball over McAllen, Texas skies.

| Updated on: Feb 23 2023, 18:29 IST
What is a Meteorite? Know about these fallen “space rocks”
1/5 Meteorites are generally meteors that have fallen on Earth. When a meteoroid enters a planet’s atmosphere, it Is termed as a Meteor. If the meteor falls on the surface of the planet without burning up completely, it is called a Meteorite, according to NASA. (AP)
2/5 Therefore, it can be said that meteorites are broken up pieces of a meteor fallen on Earth or any planet’s surface. They can be found in various parts of the world where there have been previous meteor sightings. Meteorites typically range between the size of a pebble and a fist (Pixabay)
3/5 Meteorites can resemble rocks on Earth, but they usually have a burned exterior that can appear shiny. This “fusion crust” forms as the meteorite’s outer surface melts while passing through the atmosphere, according to NASA. (NASA)
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4/5 Although most meteorites found on Earth originate from smaller asteroids, they can also potentially originate at nearby planets such as Mars or even the Moon. Scientists can tell where meteorites originate based on several lines of evidence. They can use photographic observations of meteorite falls to calculate orbits and project their paths back to the asteroid belt. (NASA/JPL)
5/5 Meteorites that fall to Earth contain information about some of the original, diverse materials that formed planets billions of years ago, according to NASA. By studying meteorites scientists can learn about early conditions of the solar system as well as the processes which happened to reach where we are today. (Pixabay)
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The meteorite broke up into pieces and crashed on the surface on February 15. (American Meteor Society)

Several people observed a meteorite illuminating the skies in Texas a few days ago on February 15 as it transformed into a fireball. While these space rocks usually have close encounters with Earth, they rarely come close enough to crash. The likelihood of meteors hitting the Earth's surface is low. However, this doesn't imply that these celestial rocks have never collided with Earth. An asteroid crashed on Earth around 10 days ago and, if you include this new meteorite crash, it makes for two surface impacts in the span of 20 days.

NASA revealed that a meteorite turned into an atmospheric fireball and crashed near McAllen, Texas, on February 15 around 6:00 PM EST. It was a 1000-pound rock and it broke into pieces about 21 miles above Earth's surface. According to NASA, the meteor's speed was about 27,000 miles per hour and it had an energy of about 8 tons of TNT.

Studying the radar and other data revealed that some fragments crashed on the surface.

According to several reports, law enforcement agencies in the McAllen region received several calls from residents who reported hearing a loud explosion. According to the local newspaper Laredo Morning Times, two airports also witnessed the meteorite's passing. The meteor fragments were recovered by the American Meteor Society and released in its photo. The organization also revealed that it was the third meteorite fragment recovered in the span of 3 days.

NASA's response

After the meteorite crash, NASA said in a statement, “The meteor seen in the skies above McAllen is a reminder of the need for NASA and other organizations to increase our understanding and protection of Earth, to combine scientific and engineering expertise to advance human space exploration, to integrate terrestrial and planetary research for furthering our understanding of the solar system, and to promote successful space missions by mitigating risk. NASA is home to the world's leading extraterrestrial sample scientists, as well as the most extensive collection of extraterrestrial materials on Earth.”

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First Published Date: 23 Feb, 18:28 IST