By now, we thought we’d seen every possible type of Russian driving horror from the ever-present dashboard camera footage posted to YouTube. It turns out we were wrong, and there’s nothing in any driver’s education manual we’ve ever seen that prepares you for being hit by a meteorite.
Both videos we’re bringing you here were, thankfully, near misses. Though details are still a bit sketchy, RT.com is reporting that a meteorite, not likely associated with today’s fly-by of asteroid 2012 DA14 (which will pass within 17,000 miles of Earth) struck near the city of Chelyabinsk, in the Russian Urals.
According to conflicting reports, the meteorite either broke apart in the atmosphere (likely) or was intercepted by an air defense unit (highly unlikely). Three primary impact sites have been found so far, including two near a lake west of Chelyabinsk and a third some 50 miles to the northwest of the city.
While the meteorite itself didn’t impact a heavily-populated area, the shock wave caused by the object (which was reportedly traveling north of 33,000 miles per hour) was severe enough to damage buildings and infrastructure in the region. Numerous injuries have also been reported.
The Russian Academy of Sciences estimates that the meteorite weighed roughly 10 tons as it entered the Earth’s atmosphere. We’re not experts in accident reconstruction, but we can tell you that anything weighing 20,000 pounds and moving at over 33,000 miles per hour is going to do some damage.