A meteor hit the earth and exploded with 2.1 kilotons of force last month, but the US Air Force has made no mention of the event.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory confirmed an object of unspecified size travelling at 24.4 kilometres per second struck earth in Greenland, just 43 kilometres north of an early missile warning Thule Air Base on the 25th of July, 2018.
Director of the Nuclear Information Project for the Federation of American Scientists, Hans Kristensen, tweeted about the impact, but America’s Air Force has not reported the event.
We’re still here, so they correctly concluded it was not a Russian first strike. There are nearly 2,000 nukes on alert, ready to launch. pic.twitter.com/q01oJfRUp4
— Hans Kristensen (@nukestrat) August 1, 2018
Mr. Kristensen argues it’s concerning there was no public warning from the US government about the incident.
“Had it entered at a more perpendicular angle, it would have struck the earth with significantly greater force,” he writes on Business Insider.
Mr Kristensen points to the example of the Chelyabinsk meteor, a 20-metre space rock that exploded in the air over Russia without warning on the 15th of February 2013.
It was the size of a house, brighter than the sun and visible up to 100 kilometres away.
About 1500 people were injured by glass from windows smashing or other effects of the meteor’s impact as it crashed to earth, the biggest known human toll from a space rock.
“The Chelyabinsk event drew widespread attention to what more needs to be done to detect even larger asteroids before they strike our planet,” said NASA Planetary Defense Officer Lindley Johnson. “This was a cosmic wake-up call.”
Following the 2013 incident, the International Asteroid Warning Network was established to assist governments to detect and respond to Near Earth Objects.
But an asteroid entering the earth’s atmosphere is not uncommon.
According to a study referenced by Mr. Kristensen, a meteor struck earth every 13 days over a 20-year-period. Most break apart upon entering the atmosphere and are “harmless.”
In other otherworldly news, NASA has revealed the astronauts who will ride the first commercial capsules into space, with both SpaceX and Boeing hoping for a test flight of their pods by the end of this year or in early 2019.
At a ceremony at Nasa’s Manned Spacecraft Centre in Houston, Texas, the US space agency showed off the nine individuals who will work with two commercial projects.
“Having an opportunity to introduce you to these American heroes is unique,” said Nasa adminstrator Jim Bridenstine.
A big hello from all nine of our @Commercial_Crew astronauts! Learn more about their missions to fly on @BoeingSpace & @SpaceX spacecraft and how this will return human launches to American soil for the first time since 2011: https://t.co/9yrKIbvG6r pic.twitter.com/RVM4tK9cKo
— NASA (@NASA) August 3, 2018
Boeing’s first Starliner crew will include a former Nasa astronaut who commanded the last shuttle flight in 2011, Chris Ferguson, who is now a Boeing employee.
The four other commercial crew members – Eric Boe, Nicole Mann,Josh Cassada and Suni Williams – are still with NASA.
Meanwhile, SpaceX’s demo mission 2 aboard its Crew Dragon spacecraft, which is targeted to launch in April 2019, will carry Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. The first post-certification mission will be crewed by Victor Glover and Mike Hopkins. “This is the stuff of dreams,” said Mr Glover.
In 2014, Boeing and SpaceX were awarded a combined $6.8bn in contracts from Nasa to develop spacecraft capable of flying crews to the station, the orbiting laboratory. Since 2011, the US had been relying on Russia for catching a ride.
Before the event in Houston, Mr Bridenstine said it was an historic moment for the agency: “We are going to launch American astronauts from American soil. That’s a big deal.”
While SpaceX said it intended to start flying the crews by April of next year, Boeing has said only that it would fly Nasa’s astronauts by the middle of next year
“This is just the beginning of daring missions that this country is embarking upon,” said Mark Geyer, director of the Johnson Space Centre.
“It’s an exciting time for human space flight and an exciting time for our nation.”
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 3rd, 2018