And the sky fell on our heads: all about the Chelyabinsk event
On February 15, while we were preparing to observe the close approach of the potentially hazardous asteroid (PHA) 2012 DA14 another small asteroid entered the Earth’s atmosphere over Russia. The object, of about 17m in diameter and 11.000 tons exploded in the atmosphere generating a bright flash, a powerful shock wave and small fragmentary meteorites. About 1500 people were injured because of the shock wave effects in the city of Chelyabinsk located east of the Ural Mountains and on the border of Europe and Asia. The more than 400 kilotons released suggest that this was largest asteroid that entered the Earth atmosphere since the 1908 Tunguska event.
The differences between the orbits of DA14 and the asteroid that caused the Chelyabinsk event showed that both objects are not related. The composition of the meteorite and the spectrum of DA14 we obtained with the GTC also support that.
In this talk I will resume all the information about the Chelyabinsk event and discuss the relevance of studying the near-Earth asteroids, in particular the PHAs, and present the main results of our study of asteroid DA14 (de León et al. 2013). I will also discuss the relevance of space mission studies on this objects and resume our participation in MarcoPolo-R and AIDA missions.