TN college claims meteorite killed Vellore man
A study by the Tiruchirapalli-based National College categorically states that it was a meteorite and not any other explosion, that killed the man in Vellore recently. The National College released its report after studying the object recovered from the Bharathidasan Engineering College in Vellore district. The report effectively negates the report from NASA that said the object recovered was not a meteorite.
A mysterious object thought to be a meteorite, hit G. Baskar college campus in Tamil Nadu. The impact that occurred at 12:30 p.m. local time killed a bus driver Kamaraj and injured two students and a gardener standing nearby. The college principal informed that the officials had found a 4-feet-deep (1.2 meters) crater in the ground that contained "bluish black" rock fragments.
A meteorite is a piece of rock or metal debris from an asteroid or a comet that has fallen to the earth's surface from outer space as a meteor. Meteorites travel at a great velocity and most of them get burnt due to friction.
In 1825, a man was seriously injured in India because of a meteorite. In 1954, a meteorite crashed through the roof of a house and injured a woman in Alabama. However, a more serious event was recorded in 2013, when a large meteorite exploded over the Russian region of Chelyabinsk. Even though there were no fatalities, hundreds of people were injured in that event.
Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha said that the death in Natrampalli area of Vellore was because of "fall of a meteorite." She announced a relief package of Rs.100,000 for the family of the deceased driver who had been walking past the building when the meteorite-like object had fallen. Further, the injured students and gardener too received Rs.25,000 as relief.
The college has an army establishment, a private aeronautical institute around and mountains bordering Andhra Pradesh just opposite of it. Speculations abounded linking the incident to "a failed rocket or a bomb mistakenly dropped by the Army or even an attack by the Maoists from the mountains." However, due to the lack of explosive substances on the spot these theories were ruled out.
Local authorities have begun their investigations to ascertain if the death of a man at a college campus in Tamil Nadu was because of a falling meteorite. NASA is yet to confirm if the ambiguous object was indeed a meteorite. Laurie Cantillo, NASA's spokeswoman said that their Planetary Defense Coordination Office was looking into the matter but so far the "the report is unconfirmed."
The Indian Institute of Astrophysics and NASA are still working to confirm if the object that fell in Vellore was a meteorite; however, if this happens to be true then this will mark as the first confirmed death-by-meteorite.
Scientists from NASA refuted the claims that a meteor killed a man in Tamil Nadu, saying that the photographs were more consistent with "a land-based explosion", than with something from space. The object recovered from the site weighed only a few grams and appeared to be a fragment of a common Earth rock. Indian scientists are verifying the new information provided by NASA.