UPDATE: Scientific experts from NASA have weighed in on the bizarre phenomenon that killed one man and injured three others on Saturday.
While it was first believed that a meteorite struck a college campus in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, NASA has released a public statement saying that the photos posted online of the crater and debris are actually more consistent with “a land based explosion” than something from space.
Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer, reportedly said in an email that a death by meteorite impact was so rare that one has never been scientifically confirmed in recorded history.
“There have been reports of injuries, but even those were extremely rare before the Chelyabinsk event three years ago,” he said, referring to a 2013 meteorite incident in Russia that left about 1,200 people injured.
Scientists also say that the fragments of rock found near the explosion appear to be from a common earth rock.
Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly what caused the explosion, but they have pretty much ruled out the meteorite theory.
One man was killed and three others injured by a meteorite strike at a college campus in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
V. Kamaraj, who operated a bus for the college, is the first person in recorded history to be killed by a meteorite. He was walking close to where the object struck and suffered fatal injuries.
While his untimely death is a sorrowful occurrence, the way in which he died is utterly incredible.
"When no evidence of explosive material was found, we moved to the theory that it might be a meteorite," a local district official told Reuters. "It is not confirmed yet, as samples need to be analyzed."
Debris and rock fragments from the object were described as “blue-ish black” in color.
The object left a four-feet deep crater after falling next to the cafeteria inside the Bharathidasan Engineering College campus at about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“There was a noise like a big explosion,” said principal of the college G. Baskar. “It was an abnormal sound that could be heard till at least 3 kilometers [about 2 miles] away.”
The explosion smashed windows of classrooms and windshields of cars parked nearby. Students were sent home immediately following the strike and classes have been suspended until Wednesday.
The school is reportedly offering 100,000 rupees ($1,473) for the family of the deceased bus driver and 25,000 rupees to each of those injured.
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