Scientists estimate that a meteor like the one in the program will strike Earth once every 75-100 years.
On February 15th of this very year, a huge asteroid exploded in our planet's atmosphere and crashed along the Ural Mountain region in Russia. With big news like this rocking the scientific world, longtime PBS program NOVA made an episode entitled "Meteor Strike" focusing on the aftermath of the asteroid collision and the chances that more are headed our way.
The last asteroid this size that crashed into our atmosphere landed in the Tunguska river region in Russia way back in 1908 which knocked down an estimated 80 million trees. Very few people witnessed this event in a rather unpopulated area leaving scientists without much information besides the obvious destruction on land. Fast forward 105 years and everyone has a cell phone camera in their pocket ready to use at a moment's notice. Dozens of different viewpoints were captured from cell phones, business security cameras, and even dashcams from vehicles.
Using the aforementioned footage, scientists were able to estimate the projectory and size of the asteroid. The blast shortly after the asteroid entered our atmosphere is thought to have had 20-30 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Scientists were also able to determine that the object was moving at 50 times the speed of sound and was relative in weight to the Eiffel Tower. Most of the footage shown during the course of the program is downright shocking. The asteroid blast is so bright that is appears blinding and actually casts shadows as it traverses across the sky.
Three minutes after rocketing over populated areas, the shockwave from the landing reached civilization resulting in over 1000 injuries. Security footage shows windows shattering, employees hurled across the office, and garage doors caving in. Due to the plethora of footage available, one researcher travels to Russia in an attempt to find the camera locations for more accurate information. The same researcher later joins some locals in searching for meteorites in the snow.
As per usual with NOVA, the production on the show is top-notch. Most enthralling is the actual footage that remains difficult to comprehend even after viewing. No bonus features are included with this release, just this one particular episode. Upon discovery of the official website, I noticed that you can actually watch this complete program for free online. Hence, unless you're a science buff or need the episode for educational purposes, it's hard to recommend a purchase. That being said, if you're planning on donating to PBS at some point in the future, "Meteor Strike" is a lot more enjoyable than a tote bag.