Meteorite not responsible for killing man in India: NASA

February 10, 2016
Scientists inspect the crash site of a suspected meteorite that landed in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu state, southern Ind
Scientists inspect the crash site of a suspected meteorite that landed in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu state, southern India on February 6, 2016

NASA on Wednesday said it was unlikely a meteorite was responsible for killing a man at a college campus in India last week, as local scientists continued to examine the mysterious object recovered from the scene.

Authorities in southern Tamil Nadu state had claimed that a meteorite fatally struck a and injured three others on Saturday.

After reviewing photographic evidence, the US told AFP that they did not believe the was a meteorite.

"While more details are forthcoming from local scientists, this is unlikely something from space," Dwayne Brown, a NASA spokesman, said in a statement.

"To form a crater the size of what has been posted online would have required a meteorite of at least several kilograms," he said.

Local officials recovered a blue object, which was roughly smaller than an adult hand, near the accident site and claimed it had left a crater in the ground. The college also reported that buildings on the campus were damaged during the incident.

Two days after the episode, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram said the unknown object was a meteorite, triggering an international debate.

G.C. Anupama of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, which sent a team to examine the object, said the group has not finished their investigation yet.

"The team has received a sample from the local police investigating the event. The nature of the object will be ascertained only after a detailed analyses by the experts," Anupama, the dean of the institute, told AFP.

Meteors are particles of dust and rock that usually burn up as they pass through Earth's atmosphere.

Those that do not burn up completely, surviving the fall to Earth, are known as meteorites.

In February 2013 a plunged over Russia's Ural Mountains, creating a shockwave that injured 1,200 people and damaged thousands of homes.

Explore further: Scientists study India's deadly 'meteorite' (Update)

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Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
5 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2016
Small meteorites have time to reach terminal velocity, which why they are only burnt in a thin shell and not for a long period. In their case it means hitting ground at something like the velocity of a car. But people tend to think differently.

This (and erosion) is why meteorites found in deserts by collectors lie on the surface, while 'meteorites' found around cities lie in a deep hole.

An India newspaper now claims the chosen 'meteorite' - that looked different from other stones - is a piece of slag.

And that another explosion was heard a week before in the same district (IIRC). Human mischief?
ogg_ogg
not rated yet Feb 10, 2016
How embarassing for India's science reputation. It takes a team of experts more than a moment to determine whether or not a piece of blue slag is a meteorite?? How about someone's satellite debris? It's clear that bits and pieces from Low Earth Orbit can and do survive their fall...I guess that if "it fell from Space" then perhaps the word meteorite isn't completely incorrect (for a lay audience). This story seems implausible - multiple casualties? buildings damaged? Well, they may never figure out what it is, or how it got there, but it's pretty certain that if it did fall from LEO that that will be determined. Although, liability suggests it may be in the interest of some to squash the investigation. As far as NASA's non-statement (it is "unlikely" that a meteorite killed a guy on a college campus in SE India? Who knew?)
eric_in_chicago
not rated yet Feb 10, 2016
I told you it was Niburu. THEY are here!

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