THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 10,000 Ton Meteor Explodes Over Helyabinsk, Russia
By Space Coast Daily // February 15, 2023
February 15, 2013
Chelyabinsk, Russia – Ten years ago on this day, a 10,000 ton meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia releasing energy roughly equivalent to 500 kilotons of TNT.
This widely-reported event was instrumental in the establishment of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office in January 2016.
In 2016, NASA took on a new responsibility: defending our planet from devastating impacts by asteroids and comets that approach the Earth, or near-Earth objects.
That event, which followed the prominent Chelyabinsk meteor explosion in 2013, reflected a growing interest in, and concern about, the threat of celestial impacts.
In ancient times, the solar system’s small bodies—asteroids and comets—were sometimes seen as ill omens and warnings from the gods. In modern times, they have come to be seen as the solar system’s rubble, leftovers from its formation, but were still largely ignored until the late 20th century.
Increasingly, they have been seen by scientists as objects worthy of study, by the general public and the U.S. government as potential threats to be mitigated, and by space advocates as future resources.