Meteorite Slams into Russia! Can You Trust NASA?

Hundreds were injured yesterday when what is estimated to be a ten-ton meteorite exploded over Chelyabinsk, a city in central Russia. People as far as 125 miles away reported seeing the meteorite’s long white tail as it hurtled toward Earth. The meteorite exploded before hitting the ground, shattered windows, triggered car alarms and sending chunks of flaming rock shooting across the sky.

At this time, Russian authorities say that radiation levels in the area are normal.

Scientists at the European Space Agency and the United States’ NASA state that the incident was not connected with 2012 DA14, a 125-foot asteroid estimated to pass within 5,000 miles of earth later today – an astronomical near miss.

NASA’s assertion that the two events are unconnected has to be taken on faith, but have you ever wondered if the government would even tell you if an asteroid impact was imminent? Knowledge of such an event would trigger worldwide chaos as the date of impact came closer. Rioting, hoarding, terrorism, random acts of nihilist violence,  and people abandoning their jobs to spend more time with their families would send society spiraling out of control. What would you do if you were the government and you knew that no matter what, a very large percentage of the population was going to die? Would it be responsible to tell the truth or better to let people continue on until that fateful day? What if you and your family had access to secret, below-ground government bunkers, and all you had to do was keep your mouth shut? Would you tell and jeopardize the survival of your loved ones?

I think we know the answers.

50 Comments on "Meteorite Slams into Russia! Can You Trust NASA?"

  1. LucidDreamR | Feb 15, 2013 at 9:57 am |

    There’s a site I visit daily called – an excellent site I highly recommend. It has data for all near earth asteroids. When looking at this data yesterday I -thought- I remembered it saying this one that hit over Russia was a ‘guaranteed’ miss… now today the whole site is down… coincidence??

  2. lazy_friend | Feb 15, 2013 at 10:13 am |

    That is the definition of “awesome”. Not awesome as everyone uses. I would have been awe struck and terrified, but since its mother Russia, people just kept driving and soon there will be pieces for sale on ebay.

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  3. Geoff Henry | Feb 15, 2013 at 10:17 am |

    Why does this author think that people would destroy themselves if the merciful government didn’t keep the population ignorant. Every time there is a disaster, human nature seems to help, not take advantage and destroy. Unless you look at Katrina where the government got involved by road blocking exits and not bringing water to the victims. Too bad they weren’t prize horses. Then the FEMA director at the time would have known exactly what to do. We need to frame the societal mind in a construct of love and peace. That’s what governments actually fear. Ironic.

    • Matt Staggs | Feb 15, 2013 at 10:31 am |

      Yes, and I’ve argued the same thing, as I saw Katrina first hand. I think a doomsday event might spark an entirely different reaction, though. If you think I believe the government is merciful or kind, then you haven’t read much of my stuff. 😉

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  4. I can’t help being a pedant sometimes: it’s a meteorite after it hits the ground. This was a meteor.

  5. howiebledsoe | Feb 15, 2013 at 10:32 am |

    Well, this went east-west, while the bigger one later today is on a north-south projectory, so the chances are that they aren’t related.

    • Matt Staggs | Feb 15, 2013 at 10:33 am |

      Yep, I’m just thinking hypothetically here. Would they tell you?

      • When the evidence is in plain view for everyone who can look up or point a telescope, it would be pretty silly to lie or obfuscate. Most asteroid sighting is done by volunteer, amateur astronomers anyway, not NASA.

        • Matt Staggs | Feb 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm |

          How do you think the authorities would spin a likely unsurvivable pending impact? Your point regarding amateurs and volunteers is a good one, but I’m thinking the American public – Joe and Jane Sixpack – would look toward the authorities for direction. What do you think the core message would be?

          • Does it matter what the public’s reaction to an unsurvivable impact would be? Like a real dinosaur killer? Would there be anything to be gained from lying? Would being lied to matter in such a case?

          • Well if you have prepared accordingly say with D.U.M.B’s outfitted to survive multiple generations in an an ensconced, sustainable environment with secretive underground railways for speedy transport, located underneath a few major capitals or airports within reach of the inner core and their favored minions(*cough Denver *cough *cough) and you had inherited the pillars of enoch in your illuminati reptillian bahmitzvah to plan for just such an occasion to arise decades later kings of the Earth with no chance for the genetically modified slave/borgs you kept in your subterranean hideaway to ever challenge your authority, in this case lying would matter. AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! j/k It’s hard for me to figure psychopaths out period. Gotta be some kind of Gnostic children of the fallen angels, soulless monsters, death eater angle to it all… I dunno, hope people begin paying attention to the messages from the past so graciously preserved and awaiting our collective head out of ass mass awakening. And on that note I present


          • kowalityjesus | Feb 17, 2013 at 10:04 am |

            will the ignorance of the masses be smited, or will their existence be smited? or will the worthy go down with the ship too, to be rewarded only in the hereafter? this has been a longstanding question I’ve held.

          • I’m imagining something like this…

          • kowalityjesus | Feb 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm |

            gosh, what if it really were that simple, I hope God doesn’t have an itchy trigger finger…I’ve been told he is slow to anger….

            Gary Larsen: a man whose applied mental strangeness accounted for more existential happiness in my life than a surprisingly large number of other resources.

          • Everything is fine, go buy more stuff?

          • Monkey See Monkey Do | Feb 17, 2013 at 4:15 am |

            To fund the building of underground bunker communities for the rich.

          • This could be an adaptation of The Red Death. It’s probably already been done. The Divide is the perspective form the poor people, and it’s nuclear. This in no way is to make light of your comment. Just sharing what comes to my mind.

  6. I don’t know the answers, because I have not experienced the situations. I’d like to think I would look out for others, but having been in a few life threatening situations, I can say thinking wasn’t going on.

    Watching this made me think of a vivid dream I had.

    • gravytrain | Feb 15, 2013 at 2:24 pm |

      seriously? I had one like this as well… From the same perspective as the driver, awe struck and terrified pretty much sums up me in the dream. It was more than 10 years ago and I’ve never forgotten it.

  7. Problem with ‘the government wouldn’t tell you’ is that there’s millions of amateur/private astronomers and someone would notice, surely?

  8. My initial assumption, upon seeing this meteor fall, was that it was DA14. Further research corrected that misperception within a few moments, but initially I was “pissed off”.

    Which initiated a discussion of the same questions you pose here.

    Predictably, I argued that the failure to accurately warn was wrong, even if models suggest that the overall losses would be higher from the reaction to the warning than from the actual event.

    The “payoff” may look acceptable in the short term, but in the long term the risks are immense.

    To withhold information of that sort from the public because “We know better than they do” is exactly the kind of elitism which leads to an out-of-touch leadership and a catastrophic loss of trust.

    Regardless of a society’s explicit economic model, most of the benefits of society derive from Ricardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage (Which is a principle of cooperative effort rather than mere Capitalist rationalization.)

    A society requires some sort of “trust” to operate efficiently. Lack of trust leads to increased transactional costs between members, as they have to hedge in order to protect themselves. When those transactional costs get too high, members of a society fail to interact.

    Failure to interact means a loss of the benefits derived from cooperation.

    When that happens, things have a tendency to fall apart.

  9. emperorreagan | Feb 15, 2013 at 11:41 am |

    I think the government would probably tell us, as it would be difficult to keep under wraps. They would want to manage the situation. I think the question is how they would manage the situation.

    And to that end, I would be very concerned.

  10. How the hell did NASA miss that? I guess that was the whole point.

    • NASA letting a meteor hit russa with no warning in hopes to what? NASA has to problem with russa other government agencies might have been hopping for a luck hit on a key location… I am shocked there was not a very last minute news flash about it so we could at least say we “tried” to help and NASA can see a 10 ton object heading directly into earth

    • There are millions of rocks out there the size of the one that hit Russia, and we have only identified a small fraction of them so far. NASA is only human, and not very well funded.

  11. InfvoCuernos | Feb 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm |

    !!!The Sky Is Falling!!! Quick get an umbrella.

  12. Anarchy Pony | Feb 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm |

    Please, everybody knows that if the Government were covering up an impending asteroid impact, Tea Leoni would get the scoop.

  13. Yes, I was reading the Book of Enoch at the time.

  14. No, we don’t have to take NASA’s word for it. The Russian meteor came in 16 hrs earlier than 2012 DA14, which means the orbits vary by half a million kilometers at least. Also, one meteor is moving south-to-north, and the Russian meteor came in east-to-west. Considering this, I don’t see how it’s possible that the two could be related.
    Enjoy your paranoid fantasies about NASA coverups & conspiracies if you like, but try not to be stupid about it, please?

    • kowalityjesus | Feb 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm |

      I value your research, thank you totally for sharing I was quite curious myself.

      Interesting video you should watch on this notion that you dismiss: A radio presenter Art Bell that hosts an “conspiracy” AM radio show gets a caller 15 years ago that sounds paranoid out of his mind and talks about catastrophic loss of life in the future but the government is covering it up. This in itself is NOT remarkable, but what IS remarkable is that in the middle of the call, the transmitter in the radio station is cut, and the show continues on backup. Allegedly, ‘the same man’ called back a week later to apologize for his frantic and paranoia-inducing speech, and it was all of 15 years ago, but how about THAT “coincidence.”

      • BrianApocalypse | Feb 15, 2013 at 5:05 pm |

        What coincidence? What does Art Bell’s radio equipment failing 15 years ago have to do with these meteors?

        • kowalityjesus | Feb 17, 2013 at 9:55 am |

          your comment would be less superfluous and more poignant had you conscientiously followed the link. Clearly there is a remarkable coincidence or some hoax at hand, and which is relevant to the subject matter in the comment to which I was responding (regarding nasa’s hypothetical propensity to withhold knowledge of an impending disaster in order to thwart civil unrest).

      • I am pretty sure that has been debunked. It is pretty cool though, in a War of the Worlds way.

    • Matt Staggs | Feb 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm |

      There’s a hypothetical question that’s at the basis of my post, and one that I had hoped to explore; a thought experiment. I’m hoping that you’ll play along, but if the unbearable weight of your intellect keeps you from doing so without calling me paranoid (have I actually suggested that a cover-up or conspiracy happened here?) or stupid (I won’t deny my ignorance on certain matters – hey, how do I know if there’s not some kind of gravitational effect here in play that might draw an object into the atmosphere? I don’t, I’m just what-iffing), then I guess that’s okay. I mean, I guess the big question here – aside from the hypothetical one – is do you have to be unpleasant? Alex Gold made the same point you made without insulting me or anyone else.

      Edit: Just read your comment history. That’s kind of your “thing”. Never mind, cary on.

      • The odds of coincidence alone merit Matt’s open minded inquiry Artor. The bigger picture is presented below, tell me what you think smarty pants 😉

        The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Fenrir and Asteroid DA14

      • Sorry I get snippy sometimes. It’s difficult to maintain a polite demeanor when my forehead hurts from banging on my desk. I do seem to do that often here. Perhaps I should give the site some space, for your benefit and mine.

      • yeah, he’s probably much more polite in real life, than on the internet, as most anonymous posters are for some reason.

        • Calypso_1 | Feb 18, 2013 at 11:38 am |

          I have noticed no [emphasis added for amusement] correlation between claims of nonanonymity & continued maintenance of civility. The internet, like other forms of communication that separate the participants from each others presence, depriving significant levels of social cues, is a distinct form of expression that allows for the exploration of extremes that one can hope impart far less mutual damage than might ensue face to face.
          In the case of more enlightened participants one can also hope for a rapid rebound into more depth full communications with the appreciation that we allow each other both the decent into our lesser selves (albeit with the risk of suitable mockery ; ) & the continued striving for something greater no matter the degree of accord that may exist.

  15. You just reminded me of a very vivid dream I had recently. There was a meteor passing by right above me. As it passed a shower of golden dust comes down. I stand under it then start to feel intoxicated or something, and my hair and teeth fall out and I realize I was poisoned by radiation.
    really wired, man

  16. News of DA14 hit mainstream news outlets several days prior to it buzzing the earth. Why didn’t we hear anything about the one that streaked across Russia prior to now? Maybe they knew about it, maybe not.

    As for notifying the world about apocalyptic meteors, I think “they” would notify us only if details had leaked and was gaining sufficient traction in the press. That’s assuming astronomers even spotted it. “They” have nothing to lose by not informing the public of such an event. The uninformed population would be wiped out (or would be, soon enough). Survivors would be preoccupied with survival in a post-apocalyptic hellscape, with no time to ponder government conspiracies.

  17. bobbiethejean | Feb 17, 2013 at 10:32 am |

    “We have to take it on faith that NASA is telling the truth.” Or you could just ask any one of the THOUSANDS OF OTHER astronomical research organizations, entities, and institutions around the fucking planet. There’s an idea. It’s not like meteors are invisible to everyone but NASA.

  18. I don’t want to seem uncharitable, Matt. I distrust almost all human institutions, because the nature of humans and organization shows a tendency towards clannishness, secrecy and advantage-seeking even at high cost to others,

    …but, having said that, your articles usually have more substance than “Uncaught meteor went boom, some people got hurt…ergo cogit sum…governments wouldn’t tell us even tell us if one were coming.”

    So I don’t want to make this a razz-fest, but this is pretty weak work when stacked up against some of your better posts.

  19. Psychopaths run things, I’m not talking Bundy types, just intelligent, charming, persuasive folks who don’t care about anyone but themselves. They make good administrators, if you don’t cross them, ambition probably drives this type. Quite a few of the best surgeons are probably cold hearted bastards that give little thought to the patient, but absolutely hate to fail. You might even be better off with a surgeon that cares more about his own rep that he does you. Politicians, just look closely at the evidence. Would they tell you? What’s in it for them?

  20. DA14 was far bigger than the one that hit Russia, that’s why. Nobody saw it coming.

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