On February 15, when the world’s astronomers were busy watching Asteroid 2012 DA14 make a close flyby of Earth, a different space rock entered Earth’s atmosphere and broke up over Chelyabinsk, Russia. The shockwave following the meteor’s destruction shattered windows and damaged property throughout the Russian town.
Later that week, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that it was studying the event, which it predicted may happen every “several of tens to 100 years. The object was found to have been around 17 meters wide and was found to have exploded with a force of nearly 30 times that of the bomb that detonated over Hiroshima, Japan.
This week, NASA has announced that it is also analyzing the event. The agency has released a video detailing everything known about the meteor to date.
In addition to information already disclosed by the ESA, the NASA video reveals that astronomers have been able to devise the meteor’s orbit based on the trajectory of its fireball. The object is now thought to have come from the asteroid belt beyond Mars. Reports of the makeup of the meteor’s debris seem to confirm it was made of stone and a bit of iron, which is common for objects in the asteroid belt.