While many other writers–including Discover’s own Keith Kloor and Tom Yulsman–have posted updates on the meteor that exploded over Russia, injuring up to 1,000 people, I was reminded of the first (and so far, only) serious meteorite injury in the United States.
On November 30, 1954, Ann Elizabeth Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama, was struck on the hip while sleeping on her sofa. A meteorite had crashed through the roof, bounced off an old-fashioned Philco console radio, and hit her in the abdomen, causing a serious bruise. The meteorite is now commonly known as the Hodges Meteorite in her honor, although it’s one that she undoubtedly would have been just as happy to do without. Hodges was left with lifelong injuries as a result. The Decatur Daily News has a good, detailed reminiscence of the event, as does the University of Alabama.
Meanwhile, The Guardian has a helpful FAQ about today’s Russian meteor explosion, and I have updated my recent blog post about today’s flyby of asteroid 2012 DA–apparently entirely unrelated to the Russian event–and the true risks of being killed by a meteorite, including the latest news. Despite the feeling today that the sky is falling, the danger is still very very small.