Meteorites from the asteroid over Sudan

By Phil Plait | March 26, 2009 10:19 pm

Creationists and other twinkies prevented me from writing about the fact that meteorites were recovered from the small asteroid that blew up over the Sudan in October. However, via Emily, is a story relating the whole thing. It’s a great read, and a fascinating tale of how they found shrapnel from this visitor from outer space.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff

Comments (14)


    Dr. Phil Plait:

    Creationists and other twinkies prevented me from writing about the fact that meteorites were recovered from the small asteroid that blew up over the Sudan in October.

    Life is easy; it is other people who make things difficult!

  2. JackC

    Gee – I haven’t seen you use the term “twinkie” for quite a few years now. Maybe I just haven’t been paying attention.


  3. Flawedprefect

    I can’t wait til we can go back to enjoying fun astronomy facts, like in the days before this extremely vocal minority monopolized our attention. Thanks Phil for sneaking this post in amongst the other ones!

  4. Richard

    Echoes here of Flawedprefect’s words.

    The universe is awesome once we take into account its own beauty. These pieces of evidence of our solar system’s past are a thing to behold in their own right.

    Once those small, should-be-insignificant, narrow-minded, peculiar-fundamentalist-Christian/whatever views begin to obscure, with their magic clouds, these same things become either stones to bow to, or discard as unecessary.

    The human race may still be able to profit from Asteroidal, Oortal, Kuiperal material in the future, once our descendants make solar travel feasible. Thereby making interstellar travel acceptable, although not within the time-scale of human life-span of the time.

    So long as we don’t abandon reason in favor of a vague, contradictory, and non-existent doomsday that some intellectually lazy political pundits fall favor to.

    The human race, within the next perhaps 5-thousand years, has a choice whether or not to continue carrying on. After that, it’ll all be a strong human-driven will to remain an intact species.

    But before that, we need to cast aside dangerous an vague notions of non-natural notions of punishments and rewards. We need to start remembering that we are part of the Universe, born of the Universe, and humbled by those facts. Plausible deities, or deity-like entities notwithstanding.

    In short, we need to instill our descendants, whether they remember us or not, a will to continue our humble species through petty wars, through unnecessary genocides (even when whitewashed as “ethnic cleansing”), past the last remnant of slavery, to a future we can only speculate.

    Galaxy could only guess what path our sentient will take.

    Universe can only guess the more likely path ours will take. (Type 1, Type 2, Type 3, or Type Null.)

    We must set down that course now, lest we become a footnote in future history.

  5. MadScientist

    I love the photos of the trails left behind. I’d seen two meteors make such a trail in the sky; on both occasions they were very bright and moving very fast; way too fast to be a satellite; then at some point they broke up and fragments went zig-zagging in different directions and then the light just disappeared. Another favorite of mine is watching a meteor ‘shower’ – the best fireworks show you could ever see – and often you’d swear those tiny rocks were headed right for you.

  6. GG

    Huh? How did Creationists prevent you from writing about this? My first thought was they staged a DNS attack or something. But now, I’m guessing you mean just the amount of time you spent on the Texas thing?

    //reading DFTS now and liking it very much

  7. Robert Carnegie

    I’m looking for coverage of North Korea launching their new satellite, although it isn’t really astronomy. And there seems to be considerable suspicion as to whether they’re actually doing that or should be allowed to if they really are, and if they aren’t then it’s just -totally- off topic.

    A missile that makes it to orbit can land anywhere on the planet.

  8. Hey Phil, thanks for picking up on this story. There’s another good account in Nature:

    Seth Shostak of SETI has a good write-up too:

  9. Sticks

    Lik GG asked, “How did Creationists prevent you from writing about this?”

    My thoughts were that they took out some court injunction preventing you from commenting, if so I would love to know what grounds.

    If it was because you were dealing with the Texas issue then technically they were not preventing you in the very literal sense so that bit could have been rephrased better along the lines of “because I have been having to take time dealing with creationists and other twinkies, I have not been able to write about . . . .”

    Or am I quibbling over semantics here?

  10. dre

    Emily’s got a great story. It reads like a “what we should have done…” kind of story, but they went ahead and did it.

  11. CR

    What?! I e-mailed you about this at 1:29am your time zone, on March 26, complete with a link to the story, and Emily gets the credit? Jeez… no respect, I tells ya…

    Seriously, though, what surprised me more than the way cool story itself was where I first saw it: online at Yahoo’s main page as a lead story. HUH?! Astronomy news making the lead story on a mainstream info page? Wow, now THAT’s cool!

    ‘It reads like a “what we should have done…” kind of story, but they went ahead and did it.’

    That’s a very neat observation.

  12. CR

    I’d better point out that while I really DID try to e-mail Phil about this, I’m really NOT sore about not having gotten through! Forgot to add the winky emoticon. 😉

  13. reidh

    What will we do if and/or when these highly expensive, sensitive, fragile, and extremely technological devices aren’t up looking for these unlimited supplies of Near Earth Objects ? Then, what should we be thankful about? Then, what will and would be our odds of escaping getting hit ? I personally could not even begin to construct etc. any such a device. How many people are working on it? How can we guarantee that this technology shall never fail from the tools of modern earth culture, so as to insure the future of all mankind? how much will it cost, what is it worth, where do I send my check?


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