Asteroid buzzes, misses Earth - unlike meteor
The images are almost unbelievable. Imagine seeing a huge, bright flash on your drive to work this morning.
The shockwave shattered glass, damaged buildings and injured more than 1,000 people as the meteor exploded over central Russia at a speed of nearly 20 miles a second.
Eleven-year-old Lucas Westerman, however, described the event as pretty cool while visiting NASA's Goddard Flight Center.
Inside, NASA's Dante Lauretta described it this way.
“Almost certainly a fragment of an asteroid, formed 4 1/2 billion years ago -- but it's probably spent most of its life in the main asteroid belt between mars and Jupiter, it may have been in inner space the last 10 million years or so,” Lauretta says.
The blast in Russia almost overshadowing the earth's relatively close call with asteroid “DA-14,” a 150 foot chunk of rock much larger than the one in Russia, big enough to create a crater the size of 30 football fields if it hit earth, similar to these craters caused by asteroids striking the moon.
While NASA tracked asteroid DA-14 Friday at 17,000 miles above the earth, the meteor over Russia may have been just six miles over the earth's surface.
NASA sees no connection between the two however, calling it an amazing cosmic coincidence.