The Sky Is Falling: Man Killed By Space Debris, Possibly Very First Meteorite Death in Human History
Piece of a meteorite found at a private engineering college in Vellore. One person was dead in the explosion. pic.twitter.com/TON5qzIw7N
— J Sam Daniel Stalin (@jsamdaniel) February 7, 2016
In what feels like a sudden, tragic imitation of an opening to a disaster movie, the unluckiest man in India was struck and killed by what might very well be a meteorite. Scientists are currently testing the object that hit the man, in the hopes of finding out whether this is the very first instance of a human being killed by a meteorite in recorded history.
Lindley Johnson, NASA’s Planetary Defense Officer, wrote an e-mail to LiveScience, saying:
It is so rare, there has never been a scientifically confirmed report of someone being killed by a meteorite impact in recorded history. There have been reports of injuries, but even those were extremely rare before the Chelyabinsk event three years ago.
According to reports, it played out like this: the apparent meteorite struck a college campus in Tamil Nadu in southern India. A 40 year old bus driver named Kamaraj died while a student and two gardeners nearby were injured. There was an impact crater 4 feet deep containing “bluish black” rock fragments, according to the statement from the college’s principal, G. Baskar.
Laurie Cantillo, a NASA spokeswoman, said that they’re still testing the object to make sure it’s a meteorite and not a random bit of space junk or debris. “Our Planetary Defense Coordination Office is aware of the reports and is looking into it,” she said. “So at this point the report is unconfirmed.”
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