Each day the Earth gets pelted with hundreds of tons of material from space. Most of this ranges from the size of a grain of sand to something the size of a fingernail, but every now and again there is something much larger that comes flying our way.
Last February, widespread panic struck when an asteroid estimated to be up to 20 meters (66 feet) and 6,000 kilograms (13,000 pounds) came tearing across the sky over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The blast from the explosion caused millions of dollars in damages and injured over 1,500 people. To make matters worse, nobody saw it coming.
Overnight on April 18-19, a meteor-like object was observed streaking across the sky over Murmansk, Russia. It is possible that the object is part of the annual Lyrid meteor shower, which is nearing its peak. There were no reports of any emergency services being called, but it did put on quite a show.
Check it out here:
In case you’re wondering what we can do if a gigantic, humanity-ending asteroid comes our way, the answer is “not a whole hell of a lot.” NASA’s Near Earth Object Program keeps their eyes on the skies for anything headed toward Earth, but right now there aren’t any funded programs for addressing this particular problem. Keep this fact in mind next time someone says we should cut space funding.