As already reported, space experts agree that the Russian meteor that slammed into the atmosphere over Russia’s Urals region, injuring more than 1,000 people, and asteroid 2012 DA14 are not related. It’s just an incredible cosmic coincidence that two historic space rock events should happen within hours of each other.
However, to better visualize the two independent events, computer modeling company AGI has released a simulation of the meteor and the orbital path of asteroid 2012 DA14, proving that they are two very different creatures. Click here to watch the simulation.
Firstly, AGI aerospace engineers recreated the direction and altitude of the Russian meteor using publicly available data. Also, the Meteosat 9 observations of the meteor’s contrails through the atmosphere aided simulation accuracy. Secondly, after plotting the orbital path of asteroid 2012 DA14 where its closest approach to the Earth’s surface was more than 17,000 miles, it becomes obvious that the direction of travel and timing are not matched. The Russian meteor and 2012 DA14 were not siblings and one did not cause the other.
That said, it is worth emphasizing that the two objects are distant cousins having both formed from the primordial debris left over from the formation of our solar system billions of years ago. They are a reminder that countless other undetected space rocks of all shapes and sizes lurk out there.
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Image: Screengrab from the AGI simulation. Animation courtesy of Analytical Graphics, Inc.