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Today in Geek History: Massive Meteor Hits China

Space debris is fascinating, fun, and sometimes scary. The meteorite pieces that rained down on Russia’s Chelyabinsk region last month hit with the force of 30 atomic bombs, but these were not the largest we've seen or recovered. On this day in 1976, a meteor entered Earth's atmosphere, broke up, and erupted into a massive fireball over the outskirts of Jilin City in northern China. Around four metric tons of extraterrestrial rock "scattered radially in all directions."

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Russian Meteorite Explosion Was As Powerful As 30 Hiroshima Atomic Bombs

Now that the dust has settled from last Friday's spectacular meteorite explosion over Russia, the facts are slowly coming in about just how big the explosion really was, and it's turning out to be a bigger blast than pretty much anyone initially suspected. According to an assessment released today by the European Space Agency (ESA), the meteorite that fell to Earth in Russia's Chelyabinsk region and injured nearly 1,000 people could have done much worse, as it exploded with the force of 30 atomic bombs. Keep reading for the full breakdown and another look at the unprecedented blast.

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33-Ton Mall Aquarium Explodes, Sends Glass Shrapnel and Sharks Everywhere

Fifteen people were injured last week when a 33-ton aquarium exploded in the middle of a Shanghai shopping center. The injuries sustained are reported mainly as cuts from the shattered glass, and not from, as one would suspect, sharks. The aquarium was installed two years ago, and had been a popular attraction at the mall until it exploded, spilling fish, turtles, and sharks into the shopping center. That tends to drive down foot traffic.

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SpaceX Launch Has Engine Explode During Ascent, Proves Importance of Redundancy

For those not aware, SpaceX had a mostly smooth launch of their Falcon 9 rocket yesterday. The Dragon capsule is on its way to the International Space Station. We say "mostly smooth" because, as it turns out, the Falcon 9 actually lost an engine as it was climbing toward orbit. Engine 1, seen in the upper right corner in the image above, disappeared in a fiery explosion before bits of debris could be seen falling away. Always a confidence booster to see one of our only ways to space blow up on video.

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Don’t Try This At Home: Grenade Goes Off Underneath Boat [Video]

It's not a good idea to drop a live grenade into the water under your boat. I don't need to tell you that this isn't the best idea. You know darn well that this isn't the best idea. Using the most sophisticated Google Translate available, we have determined that the title of the video translates to "Boat Explosion," and the description translates to "Sometimes it happens on set." We aren't entirely certain as to whether or not this video is real, but if it is, we hope everyone is okay. Why? Because Russia. That's why.

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Watch This Bridge Get Completely Blown Away in a Massive Demolition [Video]

Completed in 1929, the Fort Steuben Bridge spanned the Ohio River for some 83 years before it finally met its match in the form of 153 pounds of explosives. The decision to do away with the bridge apparently came from mounting concerns over its structural integrity, and decreased traffic in the wake of increased weight restrictions for vehicles crossing the bridge. It'd also become functionally obsolete, on account of the completion of the nearby Veterans Memorial Bridge in 1990. With all that against it, there wasn't much else to do with the crossing except blow it to hell. See another view of the demolition, after the break.

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Watch a Russian Power Plant Explode, Look Terrifying in the Sky [Video]

Everything about this video of a Russian power plant exploding off in the distance and lighting the sky a range of colors seems too perfect. The car that caught the video happened to have a dashboard mounted camera, and the driver seems to be listening to John Lennon's "Imagine," playing just softly enough to make this video not unlike a teaser to some nuclear holocaust movie. Extremely unsettling.

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Guess What Happens When You Put Liquid Nitrogen in a Sealed Container? [Video]

If you ever happen to come into some extra liquid nitrogen and are wondering what to do with it, surely, putting it into a sealed container is probably not the best idea. You see, it explodes -- quickly and scarily. Somehow, at least, the guy in the video didn't seem to lose any fingers.

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Stunning Explosion Rocks The Sun [Video]

The Sun is no stranger to solar flares (explosions of magnetic energy) or prominence eruptions (gas bursting from the surface) but the combination solar flare/prominence eruption that recently exploded on the Sun has created an astonishing and visually remarkable eruption.

The video of the explosion was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. According to Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy the explosion could have blasted a billion tons of material away from the Sun in a plume as big as the Sun itself at perhaps over a million kilometers across.

From the video, it appears that plasma was released from the Sun's surface, in a fountain of particles that spread outward and then collapsed back down to the Sun. Blasts like this are capable of shooting material away into space, but Earthlings needn't worry. This particular blast was aimed away from Earth (as are most events like this.)

(Geeked On Goddard via Universe Today and Bad Astronomy)

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This is What an Exploding Lake Looks Like [Video]

Details are scant as to what exactly is happening in the video above, but it sounds like some blasting in a quarry created this huge explosion and tsunami-like wave in the lake above. Some commentors are already making the obligatory shouts of "fake!" of course. I don't know much about quarry blasting, but it looks pretty convincing to me. Internet, tell us what you think. Be forewarned: it's quite loud. (Liveleak via Gizmodo)

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After Explosion, Radiation Recedes at Japanese Power Plant

Early this morning, an explosion at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan prompted fears of high radiation leakage and a possible core meltdown. Those fears have since abated, though the situation remains dangerous. The plant, which was damaged in yesterday's massive earthquake, has been a source continual concern as Japan attempts to stage recovery efforts in the area. From The New York Times:

Officials said late Saturday that leaks of radioactive material from the plant, which began before the explosion, were receding and that a major meltdown was not imminent. But severe problems at two nuclear plants close to the epicenter of the quake forced evacuations of tens of thousands of people from surrounding areas, hampering efforts to search for survivors and forcing Japan’s leadership to grapple with two major crises as the same time.
Reports on the incident say that the explosion was caused by a buildup of hydrogen inside the concrete enclosure around the reactor core. Officials are being quoted as saying that the core itself was not damaged, and that amount of radioactive material released in the explosion was minimal. Since the explosion, radiation readings have actually diminished. The explosion does give workers a chance to directly cool the core, and lessen the chance of a reactor meltdown.

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Explosion in Colombia May Have Been Caused by a Meteorite

Colombian authorities are currently investigating a strange explosion which rattled the state of Santander yesterday, and which may have been caused by a meteorite crashing down to Earth. (Fortunately, no one was reported dead or injured.) The explosion was preceded by a fireball in the sky: One observer described it as being "a ball of fire like a big rainbow"; another said that it had a "light blue front and [the] back had left an orange flame and some smoke." The explosion was supposedly so powerful, it caused glass windows to shatter in nearby houses. News report below:

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A Nuke Exploding in Space; Take That, July 4th Fireworks! [Photo]

How's this for one-upping a fireworks show? In July 1962, the U.S. government set off a hydrogen bomb ... in outer space. Filmmaker Peter Kuran, who made the documentary Nukes in Space, collected these recently declassified images. Hear more about how they came about to detonate nuclear rockets in space, after the jump.

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