The meteor that exploded over Russia Friday was slightly larger than previously thought and more powerful, too, NASA scientists say.
The Russian meteor explosion over the city of Chelyabinsk, on Friday (Feb. 15), injured more than 1,000 people and blew out windows across the region in a massive blast captured on cameras by frightened witnesses.
Friday afternoon, NASA scientists estimated the meteor was space rock about 50 feet (15 meters) and sparked a blast equivalent of a 300-kiloton explosion. The energy estimate was later increased to 470 kilotons.
The meteor was also substantially more massive than thought as well. Initial estimated pegged the space rock's mass at about 7,000 tons. Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., now say the meteor weighed about 10,000 tons and was travelling 40,000 mph (64,373 km/h) when it exploded.
"These new estimates were generated using new data that had been collected by five additional infrasound stations located around the world - the first recording of the event being in Alaska, over 6,500 kilometers away from Chelyabinsk," JPL officials explained in the statement. The infrasound stations detect low-frequency sound waves that accompany.