Meteorite nails car in Las Vegas? Nope.

By Phil Plait | October 15, 2008 4:00 pm

Update: I contacted a TV station in Las Vegas — NBC affiliate KVBC — and they already have the story. It’s not a meteorite, it was a dummy test weapon that landed on a truck at Nellis Air Force base near LV. So, false alarm, as I suspected. So ignore what I wrote below.

I just heard via Twitter that there is a report that an object, possibly a meteorite, has hit a car in north Las Vegas. All it said was:

An unknown airborne object, rumored to be a small meteorite, has struck a car in North Las Vegas; no injuries reported.

That’s all I know. They don’t give any sources, any quotes, nothing.

I’ll see what I can find here, and update this when I get something.

What would the casinos pay out for this? And why couldn’t it wait until TAM 7?


Comments (25)

  1. Uh oh! Man, I’d hate to be on the Safety Investigation board for this one. This sounds like ti was a malfunction of sorts, but still… I feel sorry for the pilot of the aircraft that dropped this though, he’s going to be going through “hades” from this investigation…

  2. FrankM

    I agree. Not a fun time in store for that jet jock.

    I also want to go on record and let y’all know that I just received my copy of Death From The Skies. I’m so not getting any sleep tonight :)

  3. BradB

    Wow either way that is still a long shot. Hopefully the issue was on the test weapons end for the pilot’s sake. Also.. I wonder how you would approach your car insurance company about that claim..

  4. dziban

    I have also received my copy of Death from the Skies…but my copy is a pirated, scanned PDF, and can be found on torrent sites. Phil, figured you should know.

  5. Jose

    It was Hubble’s data formatter.

  6. UnionCarbide

    Of course THEY say it’s a training device! *dons tinfoil hat*

  7. My copy of Death from the Skies got here today — still warm from the presses! Or maybe the UPS truck was just warm from the sun. Either way it’s mine!!!!!!!!

  8. Davidlpf

    If the owner of the truck was in it, it would of been daeth from the skies.

  9. Jose

    He was in it, but it was a red Toyota pickup, so he’s fine. You can read about this and other similar incidents in my new book Mildly Bruised from the Skies.

  10. Edweird

    @Larian long time no see brother.
    /back to topic

    Yeah… it was likely one of these:

    The USAF drops them in place of larger more expensive munitions for training missions. Outside of that, I am not going in to particulars.

  11. McCain just did it again! He complained about the 3 million dollar projector again!

  12. RL

    A few years ago in NJ, a pilot dropped a practice bomb (non explosive) through the roof of a grade school. Thankfully when it was closed. That was big trouble.

  13. Nice publicity stunt, BA! (Hope my copy of DFtS gets here soon…)

  14. Crudely Wrott

    RL: Actually, that was an inadvertent strafing attack. Machine gun bullets through the roof and walls. I forget if I ever learned the cause, but it was bullets.

    Actually, when you think of all the things that we launch or drop on trajectories, it’s a wonder that their aren’t more such incidents. Unless you actually calculate the distribution of people and their stuff over the surface of the Earth. Most places are not occupied!

  15. OMFSM!!!! Edweird, fancy running into you here! :)

    RL, actually that instance was 20mm cannon fire from what I recall. And yes, that was big trouble!


    Now the taliban is going to want to buy Toyota’s from now on. I can just see the ads now from Toyota, “Takes a licken and keeps on ticken” or translated in the local language “Holy Geehad Momo, no wonder no one wants to buy a Ford anymore.” or as the gay taliban says, “Does it come in pink?”

  17. Edweird

    @Larian, yah no kidding.

    even money the flightsuit insert “thought” his Master Arm switch was in SIM… our zippersuits lock up anything that moves, and have recently come under FAA scrutiny for it. See for a semi recent midair incident.

  18. LSandman24

    I love stories like this. I’m a USAF Munitions troop by trade and I’ve assembled thousands of these things. Think of it as a 25lb nerf football with one of those fins on the back for stability. It mimics the trajectory and flight characteristics of our larger, more expensive items. There is a small explosive cartridge that ejects the item from the bomb rack on the aircraft that is electrically-initiated, so an accidental firing is definitely possible. There was another story about one of these things crashing through a guy’s bathroom

  19. Jack Cannon

    Subject : Cell Phones and Your Televisions

    The Hubble Telescope has detected the largest recorded explosion to date.

    Supernova Bella Prime in the Perseus Galaxy has exploded and has emitted a massive electromagnetic pulse, also known as an EMP, that could cause major disruptions to computers and communication systems here on Earth.

    On March 13, 1989, in Montreal, Quebec, 6 million people were without commercial electric power for 9 hours as a result of a huge geomagnetic storm. Some areas in the northeastern U.S. and in Sweden also lost power.

    Supernova Bella Prime is 1056 times stronger than the 1989 EMP and is expected to reach Earth later this year.

    Scientists predict there will be major disruptions to computers and to most electrical devises here on Earth.

    In order to protect your electrical circuits all cells phones, computers, televisions, and other electrical devises should be turned off for approximately 24 minutes as the EMP wave passes over Earth.

    Persons traveling in vehicles using a navigational GPS are to ensure they have a traditional map available as all GPS devises will be affected when GPS Satellites Stations are turned towards the EMP and their signal turned off for the 24 minute duration.

    Scientist also say that not all things will be doom and gloom as some of the newly designed battery operated toys will be activated during the 24 minute wave period even without batteries installed. Also of interest, the Earth’s magnetic field which naturally protects us from all EMPs will cause a spectacular show of the Aurora Borealis seen as far south as Mexico.

    There is little health risk during this time as the narrow wave exposure is considered short.

    Presented by Team Star

    California Observatory


    . ^ Giacobbe, F. W. (2005). “How a Type II Supernova Explodes”. Electronic Journal of Theoretical Physics 2 (6): 30­38. Retrieved oon 2007-08-03.

    . ^ “Introduction to Supernova Remnants”. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (July 27, 2006). Retrieved on 2006-09-07.

    . ^ Schawinski, K. Justham, S.; Wolf, C.; Podsiadlowski, P.; Sullivan, M.; Steenbrugge, K. C.; Bell, T.; Röser, H.-J.; Walker, E. S.; Astier, P.; Balam, D.; Balland, C.; Carlberg, R.; Conley, A.; Fouchez, D.; Guy, J.; Hardin, D.; Hook, I.; Howell, D. A.; Pain, R.; Perrett, K.; Pritchet, C.; Regnault, N.; Yi, S. K. (2008). “Supernova Shock Breakout from a Red Supergiant”. Science Express 321: 223. doi:10.1126/science.1160456. PMID 18556514.

    . ^ a b c Mazzali, P. A.; K. Röpke, F. K.; Benetti, S.; Hillebrandt, W. (2007). “A Common Explosion Mechanism for Type Ia Supernovae”. Science 315 (5813): 825­828. doi:10.1126/science.1136259. PMID 117289993.

  20. Jack Cannon, what on Earth are you talking about? What scientists have predicted an EMP hitting us and causing problems? There is zero danger from any supernova event, especially one from another galaxy! The pulse comes from gamma and X-rays hitting our atmosphere, and the amount of such EM radiation hitting us from a supernova even a few hundred light years away is essentially zero.

    And “Bella Prime”… where did that name come from? No astronomer has ever called a supernova a name like that.

    Bear in mind I have done a lot of research into this, and wrote about it extensively in my book.

  21. HvP

    Do I even need to mention the fact that an Electro-Magnetic-Pulse would travel at the same speed as the light coming from any potential supernova? So if we could see a supernova then we’d already be hit by the EMP.

  22. LSandman24

    Isn’t Hubble still calibrating after being offline for several weeks? Amazing how it could detect this without disengaging the “O.F.F.” actuator.

  23. Loud noise and rumbling ground? Sounds like the after effects of too much Fosters.


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