Just over 14 months after a 20-ton asteroid exploded over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russian dashcams have apparently captured another fireball lighting up the night sky, this time in the northern city of Murmansk.
According to RT.com and the dashcam time-stamp, the fireball burned through the sky at about 2:14 a.m., Moscow Time, on April 19, (or 6:14 p.m., Eastern Time, April 18).
There's no confirmation as to what the object could have been — whether meteoroid or artificial debris — thus the 'meteor-like' label used in the video's title. It is possible that this is some piece of orbital space debris re-entering the atmosphere. However, the pattern of flashes is similar to how meteoroids flare multiple times as they're crushed and broken apart by the pressure of the air they compress in front of them. Undoubtedly, this will spark a search for any pieces that may have survived to reach the ground. But given that the details of the video do not indicate exactly where the meteoroid exploded, finding any meteorites from it might be difficult.
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This fireball occurs just a few days before three former NASA astronauts will be appearing at an Earth Day event at the Museum of Flight, in Seattle, Washington, to highlight the dangers of asteroid impacts, and explain that they are much more frequent than we think. B612 Foundation CEO and former Shuttle, ISS and Soyuz astronaut Dr. Ed Lu explains more about the frequency of impacts in a recent press release:
"The visualization shows data from the nuclear weapons test warning network, supplied by Peter Brown, Western University of Canada. This network has detected 26 multi-kiloton explosions since 2001, all of which are due to asteroid impacts. It shows that asteroid impacts are NOT rare — but actually 3-10 times more common than we previously thought. The fact that none of these asteroid impacts shown in the video was detected in advance, is proof that the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a 'city-killer' sized asteroid is blind luck. The goal of the B612 Sentinel mission is to find and track asteroids decades before they hit Earth, allowing us to easily deflect them."
The astronauts' event will happen on Tuesday, April 22, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time (9 p.m. Eastern Time), with the press conference materials available online at b612foundation.org afterwards.
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