NASA Says Man in India Probably Wasn’t Killed by a Meteorite

February 11, 2016 4:08 pm Last Updated: February 11, 2016 6:51 pm

NASA says that a man in Tamil Nadu, India, was likely not killed by a meteorite.

According to CNN, NASA said, “Initial assessments, based on photos posted online, are not consistent with something from space. Small meteorites do not start fires or cause explosions when they hit the ground.”

“To form a crater the size of what has been posted online would have required a meteorite of at least several kilograms. While more details may be forthcoming from local scientists, this is unlikely something from space.”

If the object is confirmed to be a meteorite, it would be the first death from a meteorite—a piece of space debris from a comet or asteroid—in 200 years.

(Wikipedia user Calips)
The Hoba meteorite in Namibia is the largest known meteorite that is still intact. It is 2.7 metres long and weighs 60 tons.(Wikipedia user Calips)

The space agency said that a meteorite larger than half a mile in diameter would create effects felt around the world. Anything smaller would only cause local damage.

The American Meteor Society said a meteorite usually looks like “a heavy, black rock,” but “many, many more meteorites resemble nothing more than mundane terrestrial rocks,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Nevertheless, Indian scientists have been analyzing a small blue object that plummeted from the sky and killed a man in southern India, after authorities said it was a meteorite.

The object slammed into the ground at an engineering college over the weekend, shattering a water cooler and sending splinters and shards flying. Police say a bus driver standing nearby was hit by the debris and died while being taken to a hospital.

College principal G. Bhaskar said he heard a loud thud from his office, where several window panes shattered when the object hit the ground.

Local officials and scientists from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics on Feb. 9 examined the 5-foot-wide impact crater at the college near Vellore city, but said they had yet to determine whether the object was from outer space or possibly a passing airplane or man-made satellite.

College officials said window panes of the building shattered with the impact of the loud explosion. Several buses parked nearby were also damaged and bits of glass from broken windows were scattered in the buses.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.