INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 15, 2013, 10:27 PM

Middle schoolers get real-life lesson about meteorites

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - An active day in the sky. First, a meteor exploded over central Russia causing a shockwave that blew out countless windows and injured a thousand people with flying glass.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - An active day in the sky. First, a meteor exploded over central Russia causing a shockwave that blew out countless windows and injured a thousand people with flying glass.

Hours later, an asteroid whizzed by earth, closer than ever before.

Jacob Preisler, Student: "A meteorite is a meteor that hit the earth."

These kids know their stuff, at least for the most part.

Rachel Nemer, Student: "A big ball of fire, kinda."

This class, full of middle schoolers study things like astronomy. But can't quite grasp what it means for a 150-foot asteroid to zoom by, closer than some of our satellites. To them, it could only mean one thing.

Preisler: "Umm, trouble."

Cassidy Peterson, Student: "We learned a little bit about how meteorites burn up in the mesosphere, other than that, not much."

This type of thing doesn't happen often and not usually the same day a giant rock is aiming straight for Earth. Ms. Dejong didn't tell her class before the fact, worried it might scare them.

Jessica Dejong, Earth Science Instructor: "I just thought, wow, this is really, really close. 17,000 miles above the earth's atmosphere is considerably close. And considering the moon is about 250,000 miles away from us, that's huge. And I actually thought it would cause a lot of anxiety in my class."

Now, it might be a little harder to ignore.

Nemer: "That people were hurt and injured but that's it."

Especially after a meteorite exploded only 20 miles above a city. Injuring over a thousand and tearing down buildings. With a panic stricken region, it's tough not to be afraid.

Preisler: "I don't know who it wouldn't scare."

NASA says the meteorite and asteroid were not related. The asteroid has passed earth and doesn't pose any threat.

Tags: