Monday, April 14, 2008

Five meteorites? And one insurance company?

This is the page I found this story at, and let's ask about the probability of this event occurring in the form of a Fermi question. First... we hand the question over to someone with more of a grasp on astrophysics than me. The next step is getting them to actually start working on the question without just saying that it's zero. For now I'm going to have to say it's a non-zero probability, speaking if this event were to occur while the Earth is still in about the shape and size it is now, give or take a few percentage points. A meteor shower wouldn't surprise me terribly about this happening, but it would almost certainly take a large and rare one, speaking on the stellar scale here or maybe even in a very small portion of the galaxy. Now, to have five hits in six months occur in the same spot, earns some speculation. Apparently, University of Belgrade experts have confirmed the rocks to be, indeed, meteorites. I haven't found any scrutiny or research about these findings yet. This story hinges on the confirmation of these scientists, and according to Fox at,2933,349628,00.html , there hasn't been independent confirmation. In fact, the former site will say that the U of B confirmed it flat out, but the latter said that they were only told that by the man, and that no confirmation has come up.

Though I'm sure it's possible and done, I wonder how many people get their houses protected from meteorite strikes around the world. It happens, and the meteorites aren't very friendly with whatever they hit. The Earth is hit with plenty a day, but the vast majority aren't really noticed by us. Every so often a little, visible one might hit and maybe someone will notice. Then the ones that really are decently sized boulders smack the Earth and they don't even have to blow up something valuable, the noise and explosion is usually interesting enough. Meteorites big enough to cause serious damage come down every so often, but not exactly frequently. They don't usually score direct hits on densely populated areas either. It's kind of difficult to discuss meteorite safety in depth for me right now; "How to Avoid Being Stricken by a Meteorite" doesn't look plausible enough right now and if you aren't hit directly, my idea of safety is to move away from ground zero quickly. Now, if one were hit by a meteorite and wounded, that would be a much more complex situation. One probably involving some serious first aid and a speedy trip to the hospital, if that were to occur. The probability of these events is very small, and being subject to the wrath of space rock is about as random as it gets with natural disasters-- of the people who say most accidents aren't accidents, the unfortunate occurrences that aren't accidents will almost invariably involve something that wasn't originally on the planet. With this information, I support the study of potentially dangerous meteor showers approaching and the study of larger, lone meteors that could do much more on their own.

I also support staring out into space every so often, because maybe you'll see something and be very famous the next day. If you have to dive out of the way and your friend gets a video of it.

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