The Russian meteorite is all the rage on the Internet right now. This was one of the most spectacular (and well captured!) events in some time, and the largest impact since the Tunguska Event of 1908.
Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of information that’s been run through the infamous telephone game. The best thing I can do for my readers is to direct you lovely folk to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog on Slate for his run down of the event.
I want to take this opportunity to bring up an important and relevant issue. Astronomers have been saying for years that impact events are an important threat to address. The solar system alone is obscenely littered with debris, much of which still has yet to be discovered. What if it had been the much larger DA14 to strike us? Impacts from these objects can range from the mild light show to Tunguska 1908, or much, much worse. The potential for extinction level events exists.
However, when NASA goes before Congress, their budget gets hacked to bits. Write, phone, or email your local representatives and demand they heed the warnings of our brilliant space agency! Let them know you recognize this as important!