Most of us give little thought to things falling from the sky, but the reality is that it does happen, and more often than we think. There have been times when planes have fallen from the sky, satellites, and even space shuttles. One thing that we really don’t think about is meteors, but they too fall from the sky. We live in a solar system, and there are many objects in space that, if they get too close to our atmosphere, can get caught in it and fall to Earth. Most often these items are small enough to simply burn up in our atmosphere, and we view them as shooting stars, but some actually make it to Earth’s surface. I can think of a famous meteor, whose crater I was able to see when I was a kid. It is the crater that is located in Arizona, near Winslow. It is unknown how big that meteor was, because there is no documentation. Many people have suggested that it was quite small, but in light of more recent meteor hits, I have to wonder if it was bigger than they think. Of course, years ago, I might have accepted the theory that a meteor the size of a golf ball could make a hole the size of the crater in Arizona, but after seeing some of the more recent strikes, that just no longer seems logical, and my brain, being very logically wired, simply can’t buy into that, given the current knowledge that I have.
One of those more recent meteor strikes happened on this day, October 9, 1992, when a meteor about the size of a bowling ball, came crashing down, and sliced right through a 1980 Chevy Malibu owned by Michelle Knapp. Michelle was watching television in her parents’ living room in Peekskill, New York when she heard a thunderous crash in the driveway. Wondering what could have happened, Michelle ran outside to check it out. What she found was shocking. There was a large hole in the rear end of her car, and a matching hole in the gravel driveway underneath the car. It was what was in the hole that was the most shocking, however. A rock about the size of a bowling ball, but, at a weight of 28 pounds, it was much heavier than a bowling ball, which can only weigh a maximum of 16 pounds. The rock was shaped like a football and warm to the touch, but the worst part was that it smelled like rotten eggs. Of course, this was all big news in the world of science, and the next day, a curator from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City confirmed that the object was a genuine meteorite. I’m sure that of all the things Michelle could have imagined hitting her car, a meteor was most likely the last.
Apparently, our earth is bombarded with about 100 pounds of meteoric material every day, however. Some are the size of dust particles, and some as big as 10 miles across, with the average being about the size of a basketball. So I guess that Michelle’s meteor wasn’t all that unusual. Meteors seem to be in the news more and more these days, and with the invention of dash mounted video cameras and other such surveillance equipment, meteor strikes have been caught on camera, that never were before. Of course, any strikes that hit something were usually found, but those that didn’t might not have been known. I hadn’t really given much thought to the many times our planet has been hit, but it stands to reason that with all the space debris, it is a possibility. Personally, I hope that my car never has to sustain a hit like that, but I suppose that she got enough out of the incident, with the fame and all, to buy herself a new car…or maybe she had insurance on it and got it covered that way. As for me…I’ll just keep my car.