The Russian Meteor
On the morning of the 15th February 2013 while the world was eagerly awaiting the arrival and subsequent departure of the asteroid 2012 DA14 later on that day, a meteor estimated to be around ten tons and measuring around three metres in diameter, (although estimates do vary) entered the Earth’s atmosphere, hurtling towards the ground at 33,000mph.
The Russian Academy of Science initially estimated that the meteor exploded between 18 and 32 miles above the earth’s surface and this released several kilotons of energy, the resulting blast sent meteorites across Central Russia and parts of Kazakhstan. The area that suffered most of the damage was the city of Chelyabinsk. The shockwave from the fireball, caused by the object breaking the sound barrier, injured an estimated 1,200 people – most of whom had gone out to look at the meteor streak across the sky – blew out countless windows and reportedly some fragments destroyed a zinc factory. Thanks to the now famous ‘Russian dash cams’ that most motorists in Russia seem to have, we have been able to see this meteor in a way that we never have before.
From its initial entry into the Earth’s atmosphere to its fiery descent lighting up the morning sky like a second sun and the subsequent trail it left across the sky, there are various angles at which it can be viewed and, more importantly, studied. Interest in this incident is thanks, in part, to the fact that it occurred over a built-up area as opposed to a similar, albeit much larger event such as the Tunguska Event in 1908. A large meteor or comet is thought to have exploded between 5 and 10 km above Earth’s surface and the resulting air burst generated a blast with the approximate force of 10 – 15 megatons of TNT. Luckily, this incident happened over a sparsely populated area of Siberia and although there was only one death caused by it, the most damage was done to approximately 80 million trees in the region which were flattened by the blast.
Of course, in this day and age when something like this occurs inevitably conspiracy theories are never far behind even though it only happened a matter weeks ago, the Russian meteor incident is no exception, in fact the first theories began to circulate on the internet – of course – and twitter was the place for all the latest news. Channel 4 even produced a documentary on it.
One of the first theories that I came across was that the meteor was a smaller version of what was to come later that day with Asteroid DA14. This theory was quickly shot down however when some people began to do calculations on the size, speed and trajectory of the object and realised that it came from a totally different direction than the path DA14 was on and therefore was in no way related to the asteroid that was due to come with 17,000 miles of our planet. So in the end this just happened to be a happy coincidence, although admittedly as coincidences go it was a pretty big one!
Coincidences aside, there have naturally been quite a few conspiracy theories that have popped up online over the past few weeks since the meteor strike. Let’s look at my four favourite Russian meteor conspiracy theories currently being debated on the World Wide Web.
1. The Weapons Test theory
There are three different versions of this particular theory. Some folk believe that Russia had given North Korea its permission to test out a missile over its air space. While it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that one government would allow another to test missiles in its backyard, I believe that it is highly unlikely that the Russian Government was allowed to take place where it did due to the fact that the incident occurred over a somewhat densely populated area, or at least an area that is more densely populated than some other regions in Russia where a test such as this could have taken place. Although if you are to believe one time baseball legend, Jose Canseco, there is no doubt about the North Korean link, if you ‘do the math’ that is. He posted this to his Twitter account: ‘No way was that a meteor in Russia today…North Korea, do the math. We have lots of enemies, don’t underestimate them…’
The second version concerns the theory that the Russian military actually used an advanced air defence system in order to blow the meteor out of the sky. This is actually what RT.com was reporting in the first hour after the incident occurred, then after that it wasn’t mentioned again. Strange. The main problem with this theory is that conservative estimates say that the meteor would have been travelling at approximately 33,000mph when it hit the upper atmosphere. Given that even the most advanced missiles in development now are only capable of travelling at a maximum speed of up to 3,800mph so again I believe this theory to be unlikely also.
The third theory under the weapons test heading comes direct from a Russian politician Mr Vladimir Zhirinovsky (left). Mr Zhirinovsky claims that the ‘meteor’ was actually a failed weapons test by the United States. He is quoted as saying: ‘Those were not meteorites; it was Americans testing their new weapons.’
He even went on to claim that US Secretary of State John Kerry had tried to contact his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov earlier in the week to warn him about what was to happen but Mr Lavrov was on holiday and never received the message. Are these the rantings of a mad man or a noble politician trying to get the truth out to the people? Ill let you make your own mind up on that one dear reader.
2. The Alien Invasion Theory
There is a small section of the internet that believes the meteor was precursor to an oncoming alien invasion. I think this theory has its roots in watching films like Transformers, War of the Worlds, even Superman! Although as a bit of an add on to this, there are those that think the meteor was a way for an Alien race to deliver a space virus to infect and eventually wipe out mankind. Although, so far no extraordinary reports have come from Russian doctors or hospitals suggesting a rise in the number of patients presenting with strange symptoms, although I suppose we won’t know what these symptoms are until its too late. *cough cough*
All joking aside, I think this one is a bit over the top. The only real connection between the Russian meteor and potential extra terrestrial life is that they both come from space.
3. The Mayan Apocalypse Part 2: Maya Hard With a Vengeance*
It seems like every year we get an end of the world prediction from some crackpot who has read the bible backwards or interpreted lyrics from a Led Zeppelin song wrong, ‘Doomsday’ events are becoming more frequent than Christmas. But in 2012 we had The Big One. The Grand Daddy of Armageddons, forget Harold Camping or Nostradamus. This was it. People were packing their bags and heading for a mountain in France, some chose to spend what they believed was their last day on Earth actually at the Mayan temples of Central America. Some of us just carried on as normal hoping for the best. Then it came. Well, actually it didn’t.
The 21st December 2012 will go down as possibly the biggest anti-climax in history. It was the apocalyptic version of the end of Lost. You wait 13 long Baktuns and what do you get at the end of it? Nothing. Until now that is. Some theorists believe that the 21st December was just a marker in history and that the Mayan texts had been interpreted wrong. They believe that after the 21st December 2012 there will be a marked increase in the number of natural disasters which will mark the End. Again. The Russian meteor is one such event. Although given that it wasn’t really that much of a disaster – compared to others such as tsunamis and earthquake – the logic, crazy as it is anyway, doesn’t exactly make sense.
Regardless of what you personally believe about the end of the world, whether it’s earthquakes, tsunamis, the Book of Revelations or Tesco running out of two cases of Carlsberg for the price of one on St Paddy’s Weekend, it seems that we Humans have a morbid curiousity when it comes to the obliteration of Planet Earth. THE END IS NIGH! And will be nigh for another while to come.
*Apologies, I know that was terrible.
4. UFO interception
The last theory I will take a look at and quite frankly this one is my favourite. A UFO interception of the object. It has long been said that there are a certain group of malevolent alien beings that monitor the Earth and their sole reason for being here is to protect us Humans – they probably think we’re ungrateful! – from threats such as other alien races who seek to rule us, earthly threats such as nuclear war, there are even reports of UFOs being seen in the vicinity of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station during the devastating disaster that occurred there when one of the four nuclear reactors exploded. It is thought that the UFO was responsible for averting an even bigger disaster by halting a total nuclear meltdown at the power station. Eyewitnesses claim that the craft hovered in place for six hours and it is said that hundreds of people saw it. An eyewitness said what he and other saw: ‘a ball of fire and it was flying slowly in the sky… it was about 6 or 8 metres in diameter… we saw two rays of crimson light stretching towards the fourth unit… the event lasted for about three minutes, the lights of the object went out and it flew away in a north western direction…’
It has been speculated that the UFO helped to bring the level of radiation down at least four fold and in doing so, averted a disaster that could have wiped half of Europe from the face of the earth.
Could this same group of protective Alien beings be responsible for what some are claiming happened to the Russian meteor? It has been speculated (above) that a UFO intercepted the meteor and succeeded in breaking it up so that the damage sustained on the ground would be minimal. This theory has emerged after analysis of the footage seemed to show a small object speeding towards the meteor and colliding with it seconds before it began to break up in the upper atmosphere. To back these claims up there were also reports of UFO activity in the same area as where the meteor came down, with reports increasing every day. Eyewitnesses said they seen these UFOs appearing in the sky, disappearing and coming back again.
Could these sightings have been test runs for what was to come on the morning of Friday 15th February 2013? We will probably never know, but as the say in mother Russia…
Держите глаза на небо!