News Stories

Close Call

Sometimes asteroids and meteors can come mighty close. A 14-year-old German boy survived a direct hit by a meteorite after it fell to earth at 30,000 mph. Gerrit Blank was on his way to school when he saw "ball of light" heading straight towards him from the sky. The tiny, red hot piece of rock hit his hand before bouncing off and creating a crater foot wide in the ground in front of him.

The Telegraph quotes Blank as saying, "At first I just saw a large ball of light, and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand. Then a split second after that there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder. The noise that came after the flash of light was so loud that my ears were ringing for hours afterwards. When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road. I am really keen on science and my teachers discovered that the fragment is really magnetic." Chemical tests on the rock prove it really did come from space.

The Telegraph quotes astronomer Ansgar Kortem as saying, "It's a real meteorite, therefore it is very valuable to collectors and scientists. Most don't actually make it to ground level because they evaporate in the atmosphere. Of those that do get through, about six out of every seven of them land in water." Gerrit now has a three-inch-long scar on his hand, but scientists who are now studying the pea-sized meteorite say the chances of his surviving were one in a million. The only other known example of a human being surviving a meteor strike happened in Alabama, in 1954 when a grapefruit-sized fragment crashed through the roof of a house, bounced off furniture and landed on a sleeping woman.

Speaking of close calls, how close did our resident prophets John Hogue and Starfire Tor call it when they made their 2011 predictions? (And we'll hold Hogue's feet to the fire--as we always do--in June). Subscribers can still listen to all of these shows!



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