Xeno's strange news awards blog.
Eight months after a meteorite exploded over central Russia, divers have hauled a large chunk of space rock out of a lake, giving people a look at the extraterrestrial object that caused damage throughout the region. On February 15, a 55-feet (17 m) wide, 10,000-ton meteorite exploded over central Russia. When the rock hit the atmosphere, it caused a bright flash, and some residents said their first thought was that they had seen the start of a nuclear war. Thousands of small fragments fell throughout the region of Chelyabinsk, breaking windows and injuring more than nearly 1,500 people. One of the largest pieces of the meteor fell into Lake Chebarkul, tearing a massive hole in the ice. On Oct. 16, divers finally hauled the half-ton piece of space rock from 20 meters (65 feet) of water. Once outside the lake, the chunk broke into three large pieces when it was lifted off the ground with ropes, making it harder to determine the precise weight, but an unnamed scientist told the website Lifenews.ru that the meteorite weighed 570 kg (1,256 pounds). “And then the scale broke,” he said. “We think the whole thing weighs more than 600 kilograms.” Sergey Zamozdra, an associate professor at Chelyabinsk State University, told the Interfax news agency that the chunk is probably one of the top 10 biggest meteorite fragments ever recovered. The Chelyabinsk meteor wasn’t Russia’s first brush with crashing objects from space. Scientists at the Imperial College of London estimate that meteorites the size of the Chelyabinsk meteor hit the Earth’s atmosphere about once every 50 years, and Russia was the site of one of the best recorded and most destructive meteor strikes in modern history. In 1908, an asteroid or comet hit the atmosphere and exploded near the Tunguska River in central Russia. In what became known as the “Tunguska event,” the explosion, believed to be 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, knocked down 80 million trees over more than 2,000 square miles. Scientists estimate that the blast would