Meteorite? Satellite Debris? Experts Investigate Vellore Explosion

While it is widely believed that it was a meteorite that killed a driver in Vellore, experts believe otherwise.

Published
India
2 min read
A five-foot-deep and two-foot-wide crater was reportedly formed due to the explosion.(Photo: The News Minute)

It’s not every day that a volatile meteorite shower happens. But it’s not unheard of either. Multiple instances of meteorite showers across the country have been reported over the years. The most recent one was, however, tragic, and has led to much intrigue. Due to an explosion, believed to be a result of a meteorite hit, Kamaraj, a bus-driver at the Bharatidasan Engineering College in Vellore died. There were shattered glass windows and windshields in the college campus and in houses located 5 km away.

A piece of the particle that allegedly came from the sky. (Photo: The News Minute)
A piece of the particle that allegedly came from the sky. (Photo: The News Minute)

Images of a crater, five feet deep and two feet wide were reported initially. The Times of India had reported that the Karnataka Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram had promised compensation for the families of the driver, who was hit by debris.

While it is widely believed that it was a meteorite that killed the driver, experts say otherwise.

Dipankar Banerjee, a professor from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, says that the chances of it being a meteorite are dim and that it could just be space debris or part of a broken satellite that managed to enter the earth’s atmosphere.

A water tank damaged due to alleged meteor explosion.(Photo: The News Minute)
A water tank damaged due to alleged meteor explosion.(Photo: The News Minute)

The scientists from NASA were more assertive, sayin that the photographs posted online were more consistent with “a land based explosion” than with something from space.

According to the New York Times, Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defence officer, said that a death by meteorite impact was so rare that it has never been scientifically confirmed in recorded history.

Pieces of shattered glass-windows and windshield scattered due to alleged meteor explosion. (Photo: The News Minute)
Pieces of shattered glass-windows and windshield scattered due to alleged meteor explosion. (Photo: The News Minute)

The American Meteor Society publishes a calendar of meteor showers. There was no mention of meteorite showers in February in the yearly calendar, a blog posted on 5 February clearly mentions a meteorite shower between 1-10 February.

Quoting scientists, NDTV said, a meteorite hit can only be confirmed if the pieces of rocks embedded in the dead driver’s body are recovered and tested positive for being from a meteorite.

(With inputs from media sources)

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