back to article NASA: Yup, thousand-pound meteorite exploded over Texas

A rock two-feet-wide last week hurtled toward Earth at 27,000 miles per hour – and exploded with an energy equivalent to eight tons of TNT into pieces that rained over McAllen, Texas. (That's 0.6 metres wide and 43,000 km per hour for you metric folks) America's National Weather Service said a Geostationary Lightning Mapper …

  1. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alert

    Dang Chinese!

    First it's balloons, then it's rocks!

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Re: Dang Chinese!

      And now metal spheres.

      What next ?

  2. trevorde Silver badge

    Meteor Defence - Texas Style

    Guns. Lots of guns.

    1. Sean o' bhaile na gleann

      Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

      Nah... Just let Starlink et al close the sky. Anything incoming will then just bounce off.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

        The potential to possibly save humankind from an extinction-level event is a fringe benefit of developing cheap access to space, financed in part by selling satellite internet access. (Well okay, launch vehicles built upon technologies originally built by enslaved people to bomb other people, but that isn't an uncommon story in the invention of stuff we all use today)

        Whilst we don't yet know the best way to deflect a giant space rock from hitting the earth, we can fairly assume that it will involve deploying some sort of hardware into space. We also know that the earlier we can spot and influence such a rock, the less force will be needed to divert it - so better radar is a good step forward.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

          > it will involve deploying some sort of hardware into space

          Well, in the article I see quotes like "should be detected by NEOMIR (after 2030...) at least three weeks in advance", and "In the worst-case scenario [...] we would get a minimum of three days' warning".

          In three weeks, or even worse, in three days, we won't even have the time to decide who's in charge, so he can assemble a steering committee who will decide upon a series of specialist meetings to evaluate the options and formulate a projected budget to submit to potential financing...

          Our asteroid defense plan relies mainly on the hope it won't strike us, and the impact is small/limited enough so we (ourselves) might survive it unscathed. It's a cheap plan, that's for sure, but marginally efficient...

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

            > Our asteroid defense plan relies mainly on the hope it won't strike us,

            At this moment in time, yes. However, given the timescales involved in a, hoped-for existence of human life on Earth, and b, mean time between continent-destroying meteorites hitting our planet, this 'moment in time' could reasonably be taken as meaning the next hundred or thousand years.

            That's not to say that it's impossible we all get wiped out by a rock next Thursday. So, um, err... best get down the pub then. If you want to put a paper bag over your head too then nobody will judge you, though it may interfere with your drinking.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

              > However, given the timescales involved in a, hoped-for existence of human life on Earth, and b, mean time between continent-destroying meteorites hitting our planet

              We have no clue about the mean time between collisions, just assumptions. Realistically the next species-annihilating event could happen in 5 days or in 5 billion years, or any time in between. So, given the choice to act according to one of those quite different scenarios, obviously we'll chose the one which allows us to do nothing... Or at least nothing more involved than talking about it...

              .

              > this 'moment in time' could reasonably be taken as meaning the next hundred or thousand years.

              Exactly: Let's assume this won't hit anytime soon and let's worry about something else, shall we... If we're wrong, well, though luck. The dinosaurs were wrong too, do they complain?

          2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

            Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

            True, now. US Space Command is currently working on it, with plans to put monitoring in Earth's LaGrange points and an eventual lunar base. I just hope they plan to work with other nations on this, because on Earth we're a bunch of nations with our own interests, but in space we really should be one planet with a common interest in survival. I know that's probably just a pipe dream, but still going to hope those in charge come together for a common cause without worrying about who gets the power or money from it.

        2. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

          I wish I didn’t but every time I see kilo tons mentioned I think of Dr Strangelove and the binder General Turgidson has in front of him labelled “World Targets in Megadeaths.”

          1. ThatOne Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

            Yes, that was a great documentary...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

          I’m not sure if we should even bother looking for or attempting to stop these things. Just roll the cosmic die instead.

          1. zuckzuckgo

            Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

            It worked for the dinosaurs. At least most of them.

    2. Lil Endian Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

      "Hey y'all! See that there space rock? Let's all shoot it up!"

      Result: same mass of 'space rock' lands + plenty of hot lead down range! "Yeehaw!"

    3. Benegesserict Cumbersomberbatch Silver badge

      Re: Meteor Defence - Texas Style

      It will involve Billy Bob Thornton, whatever else. Anyone who saw Armageddon knows that.

      "With our budget we can watch about 2% of the sky, and it's a big-ass sky."

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    3 Days warning

    Hmm, that'll be fun. A quick google search says it can be about as powerful as the Hiroshima nuke. The only hope of anything like sanity is for that to hit the middle of a desert.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3 Days warning

      Or the Kremlin?

      1. Toni the terrible Bronze badge
        Mushroom

        Re: 3 Days warning

        ...and then Putin blames NATO and claims the right to nuke Berlin....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: 3 Days warning

          Depends if he is home at the time.

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: 3 Days warning

      Even most major cities can be evacuated in less than three days if necessary. City states like Singapore may have a problem though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 3 Days warning

        As duly seen during the last hurricane warnings...

  4. Sceptic Tank Silver badge
    Gimp

    Why is this website thanking me for logging in?

    Texas rocks, huh! How does NASA plan to use this in their search for life on other planets? Don't forget the only remaining prime directive.

  5. Roger Kynaston
    Joke

    Damm bugs

    "The only good bug is a dead bug!"

  6. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Boffin

    Let's start checking the deposits

    Is Texas now searchable for small meteorite fragments containing the metal vibranium? If we find vibranium then America might start to reform, OK, the icon is a joke although the Marvel story was great!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Let's start checking the deposits

      That's why the US acquired Alaska... hunting for meteorites is easier in artic regions than in rocky deserts. [Joke... not joke]

  7. xyz Silver badge

    Texasssss....

    I thought the rock would be bigger.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Texasssss....

      Why would it be bigger? It isn't native Texan, it is coming in from elsewhere.

  8. Hugo Rune
    IT Angle

    How long?

    "A meteorite measuring two-feet-wide hurtled towards Earth at 27,000 miles per hour with an energy equivalent to eight tons of TNT and exploded into pieces over McAllen, Texas."

    If you are going to use non metric units please stick to the El Reg standard units.

    1. Lil Endian Silver badge

      Re: How long?

      Perfect Hugo! As I found a new one that I wanted to propose as a new El Reg standard unit. From CBS:

      ...the object weighed a whopping 1,000 pounds — as much as a grand piano...

      1. SkippyBing

        Re: How long?

        I see you one CBS article and raise you The Jerusalem Post https://www.jpost.com/science/article-732223

        Corgi-sized meteor as heavy as 4 baby elephants hit Texas - NASA

        1. Lil Endian Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: How long?

          *doffs hat*

          How the feck did they come up with that?! Is there a Vulture moonlighting? o7

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. that one in the corner Silver badge

    TM-1

    > it was sensitive enough to image an Apollo landing site and the Tycho Crater on the Moon.

    Well? Don't keep us in suspense! Is it there or not?

    1. hplasm
      Coat

      Re: TM-1

      Which one? TMA-1 or the Apollo site...

      1. Lil Endian Silver badge

        Re: TM-1

        ,,,the Moon? Hope so, I'm short of cheese!

  10. Rol

    It's wrong to wish on space hardware.

    Okay. Let's sort this out now. We drop off multiple satellites on our yearly traverse around the sun, to look for and track all the stuff bumbling about. Project their trajectories, and work out which are likely to knock our planet sideways. We then offer bounties to companies that are eager to mine the crap out of the solar system, to concentrate their efforts on the rocks we want out of the way.

    They're gonna go mining anyway, so why not point them at something menacing and give them some tax spondulix for their troubles?

    Once we get to the point where billions of tonnes of ores and bits of rock are coming back to Earth, we might find our orbit gets a little longer. Dry earth a little more abundant, and my great great great great.......great great grandthingies will get to celebrate the 15 days of Christmas and the year becomes a nice round 400 days. At which point we might need an upgrade to the Mars Rover, as that rock will need to be dealt with.

    Oh yeah. Forget it. let's just colonise Mars, Twix and Kit-Kat instead. Far less hassle.

    1. zuckzuckgo

      Re: It's wrong to wish on space hardware.

      >We then offer bounties to companies that are eager to mine the crap out of the solar system, to concentrate their efforts on the rocks we want out of the way.

      Jeff Bezos's next company: Blue-Amazon? Guaranteed delivery in one orbit but only if you have a prime account.

  11. Claptrap314 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Image the site of the Apollo landing?

    Should be easy. I mean--that stage was actually quite large.

  12. TryingSomethingNew

    "Initial results showed it was sensitive enough to image an Apollo landing site and the Tycho Crater on the Moon."

    Tycho is one of the easiest things to see on the moon - just look at it. Apollo landing sites are considerably smaller and have never before been visible by earth-based telescopes. So this is either amazing or it really isn't.

  13. russmichaels

    2 feet wide and weighed 10000 Llbs, that's half a ton. That is like the weight of 5 very large men.

    if that is true, then what the heck was it made out of, something very dense?

    Still hardly a big danger compared to all the dangers right here on earth that kill thousands of people every single day.

    They need to put more effort into solving all the issues on the planet first.

    1. Sherrie Ludwig

      That is like the weight of 5 very large men.

      if that is true, then what the heck was it made out of, something very dense?

      Many asteroids are nickel iron, yeah, heavy.

  14. Tim_the_Unenchanter

    While we aren't 100% sure what the effects would be of an asteroid striking the earth, simulations with a hamster and a sledge hammer indicate it would be very bad....

  15. Potemkine! Silver badge

    you metric folks

    That is all the rest of the World, except Liberia and Myanmar.

    Do you know that Middle Age is over? :-P

    Ok, looking at the overturn of Roe v. Wade, maybe not.

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