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14-Year-Old Boy Smote By Meteorite

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the a-grounding-doesn't-seem-that-bad-now dept.

Space 435

eldavojohn writes "Winning the lottery requires incredible luck and one in a million odds. So does getting hit by a falling space rock. A 14-year-old German boy was granted a three-inch scar by the gods. A pea-sized meteorite smote young Gerrit Blank's hand before leaving a foot-sized crater on the road. The boy's account: 'At first I just saw a large ball of light, and then I suddenly felt a pain in my hand. Then a split second after that there was an enormous bang like a crash of thunder. The noise that came after the flash of light was so loud that my ears were ringing for hours afterwards. When it hit me it knocked me flying and then was still going fast enough to bury itself into the road.' Curiously, the rock was magnetic, and tests were done to verify it is extraterrestrial. The Telegraph notes the only other recorded event of a meteorite striking a person was 'in November 1954 when a grapefruit-sized fragment crashed through the roof of a house, bounced off furniture and landed on a sleeping woman.' Space.com lists a few more anomalies and we discussed the probability of these things downing aircraft recently."

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435 comments

Points for creativity (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28311817)

Great story to tell your parents after you've burned yourself with the crack pipe.

Re:Points for creativity (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312031)

Seems suspicious to me too.

When it hit me it knocked me flying

From a graze on the hand?

I suddenly felt a pain in my hand. Then a split second after that there was an enormous bang

Yeah right. Pain signals travel through nerves at less than 10 feet per second and it takes much, much longer for the brain to recognize something's wrong. But you hear something almost instantaneously.

Re:Points for creativity (1, Insightful)

piojo (995934) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312191)

I'm not saying I don't believe it (I'm not sure), but another point for thought is that it should have reached terminal velocity, right? I don't think a pea-sized rock falls fast enough to leave a crater the size of a foot and cause a loud bang.

On the other hand, I don't blame him for an inaccurate accounting of events--most of what we "remember" is actually reconstructions from logic.

Re:Points for creativity (1)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312621)

You're right. Time often seems to compress in stressful situations. However, it seems to me that if the object exerted enough force to create "a foot wide crater in the ground", then it would cause more than a flesh wound.

Re:Points for creativity (1)

winse (39597) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312641)

uhh ... meteors don't necessarily slow down to a terminal velocity. It could happen, but it's not likely. That's why they are so hot.

Re:Points for creativity (5, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312201)

Pain signals travel through nerves at less than 10 feet per second

Can you imagine the early, renaissance-era experimental measurements of this quantity?
"I'm going to need two men. One very tall, the other very short. Without shoes. And I'll need two hammers."

Re:Points for creativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312127)

There's something about this boy's pea-sized meteorite leaving a one-foot hole in the road that doesn't fit with the 1954 grapefruit-sized fragment that merely bounced off furniture and landed on a sleeping woman.

--Newall

What's this picture for? (5, Insightful)

GigaHurtsMyRobot (1143329) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311819)

Why not a picture of his hand?

Re:What's this picture for? (4, Insightful)

keenanvito (967673) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311879)

It looks like it might have had his hand in the picture, but 'someone' cropped it out.

What kind of superpowers does he have now? (4, Funny)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311833)

Is he like Magneto?

Re:What kind of superpowers does he have now? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28311961)

'He' kinda looks like a she...if you know what i mean...and 'shes' hawt

Re:What kind of superpowers does he have now? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312131)

It's a trap!

Re:What kind of superpowers does he have now? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312693)

inb4 shota cat

Re:What kind of superpowers does he have now? (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312115)

If he is, he'll be able to stop further meteorites from hitting him. But only metallic ones.

quote (5, Interesting)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311843)

"The teenager survived the strike, the chances of which are just 1 in a million - but with a nasty three-inch long scar on his hand."

Wow, there was a 99.9999% of it killing him!

Seriously, surely the odds of being struck are much smaller than one in a million? Isn't it closer to one in a few billion, since there's a population of 6 billion and only 2 occurrences?

Re:quote (5, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311905)

This reminds me of an arguement I had with a co-worker about extra-terrestrial life a few years back.
Him: Do you know how much stuff would have to be just right for that to happen? It'd be like hitting the lottery.
Me: People hit the lottery every week.
Checkmate.

Re:quote (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312563)

I can't believe he let you get by with that or that you've been modded insightful. Clearly he meant that the chance of (intelligent?) life occurring twice in our universe is very small, like the chances of any one person winning the lottery.

Since you read and comment on /., I'm sure you're familiar with the Drake equation. The Drake equation is exact, but we have no idea how large a few of the factors are, so the true probability is anyone's guess, really. Your co-worker is guilty of guessing, but you and the people who have modded you up are guilty of being morons.

Re:quote (1)

Petrini (49261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312049)

I interpreted that sentence to mean there is only one chance in a million of surviving being hit by a meteorite, not that the chance of being hit at all was so small. I would guess the odds of being struck at any second are far less than one in a million, or we'd be splattered all over the place. Similarly, it seems like the odds of surviving are much higher than one in a million, unless, in addition to our two survivors, there are 1,999,998 smoten people we haven't heard much about.

Re:quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312071)

Isn't it closer to one in a few billion, since there's a population of 6 billion and only 2 occurrences?

I'm not good with statistics, but since it was 2 people, over a period of 55 years, wouldn't it be higher than 1:3 billion?

Re:quote (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312155)

Considerably less than that. There have been no reported hits since the '50s. There were fewer people back then, but still more than a billion. So the per year chance of being hit by a meteorite must be more like 1 in a few hundred billion.

Re:quote (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312273)

I am not a statistician, but isn't it a little more difficult than simply counting the current population size and dividing that by the total number of occurrences? I mean, shouldn't we also factor in everyone who lived between 1954 and now (for the sake of argument, lets say time began with the first strike), and also somehow factor in time since many of those people may be dead today and thus should not count as being hit by a space object?

Two instances of such an event in less than 60 years does not automatically invalidate the thousands of years prior where such an event had not occurred.

Re:quote (2, Informative)

dodobh (65811) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312311)

However, it is a well known fact that one in a million chances happen 9 times out of 10.

Because every event gets reported? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312573)

You can't count with population of 6 billion. About 1.3 of that live in India. Have you ever been to the country's poor areas (=which is nearly all of it). I've only traveled once through the country and most of that time in a train but I feel confident to say that if someone gets hit by a small meteor there, it won't get reported and confirmed.

Same is true for chine which also has over a billion people. And the poor parts of Africa... And I would guess that the same stands even for a lot of South America and Mexico...

Hell, the amount of people among which such events would likely be reported is probably closer to a billion. And even among them, only those identified as meteor strikes. I wouldn't be surprised if a few would just go "Where the hell did that come from?! WHICH ONE OF YOU FUCKERS THREW A ROCK AT ME?!"

Yeah, one in a million sounds still way of but 2 reported incidents in six billion is far, far away from two incidents in six billion.

movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28311851)

does that mean this kid will become stinking rich with movie royalties?

God is.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28311853)

God is back... and he's pissed.

Getting smacked around by space rocks? (2, Funny)

Cathbadh (971377) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311867)

Clearly, this kid is all set to gain numerous super-powers from his encounter.

Re:Getting smacked around by space rocks? (1)

igny (716218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312381)

He already had superpowers, given that the meteorite travelling at some 40km/s bounced off his hand before making a huge hole in the ground. Not forgetting the boy actually survived.

skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28311883)

the oldest article on google news is from 16 hours ago, and is from the Sun. How reputable a source is this? When did this happen? I wanted to go tell everyone how interesting this was-- now I am unsure of for what reason is it interesting

Re:skeptical (1, Insightful)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311975)

I'm getting a little worried about the story's veracity, too. Just the first two paragraphs have a couple of big issues:

Gerrit Blank, 14, was on his way to school when he saw "ball of light" heading straight towards him from the sky.

A red hot, pea-sized piece of rock then hit his hand before bouncing off and causing a foot wide crater in the ground.

Your average space rock is hurtling through space at ridiculous speeds, and hits the atmosphere hard. Its outer layers burn off... until it slows down to the normal terminal velocity for a rock. At that point, all the hot stuff has sprayed off into the air.

So anything hitting the ground will be 1) not glowing (the glowing part is long over) and 2) not hot (in fact, it should be covered in frost).

I call shenanigans. Show me I'm wrong. There's a first time for everything, after all. :)

Re:skeptical (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312245)

it should be covered in frost

How the fuck does stupidity of this level get modded up?

Re:skeptical (4, Informative)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312399)

How the [File System Check] does stupidity of this level get modded up?

As much as I hate replying (twice!) to AC's, I feel compelled to go to the trouble of a Google search.

Meteorite Myths [meteorites.com.au] (cribbed in turn from space.com, apparently)
"All of these things together mean that not only is the rock not hot when it hits the ground, it can actually be very cold. Some meteorites (what a meteoroid is called after it impacts) have actually been found covered in frost!"

Re:skeptical (3, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312317)

So anything hitting the ground will be 1) not glowing (the glowing part is long over) and 2) not hot (in fact, it should be covered in frost).

Well, the "meteorite" was magnetic, which implies either a high iron content or a high nickel content. Either one is shiny. Surely the sun reflecting off the "meteorite" could explain the "streak of light".

Seriousoy, though... can you please do the calculation that proves for a meteor of some diameter N, and some density M, it is impossible for the meteor to enter the atmosphere at some speed O, at an angle P, that would result in the meteorite not being cool to the touch at elevation Q? Please account for atmospheric and local weather conditions. Or, you could link to a source with the required info.

See, here's the thing... most meteors enter the atmosphere obliquely, which results in a long path of travel before touchdown (if they don't burn up completely). But just assume that it's possible for a meteor to not hit obliquiely (and factoring in rotation, etc)... surely it is possible for a meteor of sufficient density and size to be traveling at higher than terminal velocity, and above normal temperature, when it hits the surface (or a teen standing on the surface).

Re:skeptical (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312489)

See, here's the thing... most meteors enter the atmosphere obliquely, which results in a long path of travel before touchdown (if they don't burn up completely). But just assume that it's possible for a meteor to not hit obliquiely (and factoring in rotation, etc)... surely it is possible for a meteor of sufficient density and size to be traveling at higher than terminal velocity, and above normal temperature, when it hits the surface (or a teen standing on the surface).

You're absolutely right... it's *possible*. But is it probable?

The odds of a person being directly struck are one in billions -- impossible to even calculate, since it's never happened until maybe now (the lady in Alabama got hit on the rebound).

The odds of a meteorite hitting at precisely the right angle (a right angle, in fact) so that it drops out of the sky with minimum atmospheric friction, while not nearly as spectacular, are notable.

It's not outside the realm of possibility that both these things could happen together. But it's certainly not the simplest possiblity. The simplest possibility is that the kid was doing *something* he shouldn't have been, and came up with the Awesomest Story Ever to cover it up. I know that's what my son does.

Queue the jokes (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311907)

About self-gratification. This is /. after all. ;)

Re:Queue the jokes (1)

exley (221867) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312539)

Scanning through the comments I don't see a single one along those lines, but I do see a ton of them about the kid having superpowers now. Now that's Slashdot :) Or maybe everyone was just too busy jerkin' it to be bothered to make comments.

yikes (5, Funny)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311913)

the gods or whatever clearly hate this kid, maybe we should take the hint and finish him off

Re:yikes (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28311955)

The gods couldn't take him out, so what chance do we have?

Re:yikes (4, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311969)

the gods or whatever clearly hate this kid, maybe we should take the hint and finish him off

He survived geting hit ny a meteor.
He's too powerful for us.

Re:yikes (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312651)

He's too powerful for us.

That's why we need a team of people to watch him for several months to determine his weaknesses. Obviously we need to find the best and the brightest and should look to the comic book shops for recruitment.

What is more... (5, Funny)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311929)

What is more amazing is that it struck a 14-year-old German. I didn't think these things existed anymore; I thought all Germans were over 40 by now.

Count me a skeptic (4, Informative)

pease1 (134187) | more than 4 years ago | (#28311987)

No photos of any wound, but fast enough to bury in the ground or leave a foot long mark on the ground? Loud noise? Many small meteors are traveling quite slowly by time they reach the surface. Small meteorites are quite easy to obtain. Apparently this [sky.com] is a photo of the rock. Is that the 3-inch scar? Just dunno...

ein minuten bitte (5, Insightful)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312045)

FTA: "A red hot, pea-sized piece of rock then hit his hand before bouncing off and causing a foot wide crater in the ground."

First, meteors aren't hot. Second, if a "pea-sized piece of rock" is going fast enough to make "a foot wide crater in the ground," it's not going to be "bouncing off" shit, least of all this kid's hand. It would tear through him like a shotgun slug. Was the kid's hand blown off? No? Then it didn't leave a fucking crater in the ground either. How about some photographs? Oh, there are none? Hmmm.

Re:ein minuten bitte (1)

IlluminatedOne (621945) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312195)

This was my first thought too (well, the first one was about how lazy the 'odds are 1 in a million' comment was). Rock @ 30K mph > human flesh/sinew/bone. Pics or it didn't happen...

Re:ein minuten bitte (1)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312261)

First, meteors aren't hot. Second, if a "pea-sized piece of rock" is going fast enough to make "a foot wide crater in the ground," it's not going to be "bouncing off" shit, least of all this kid's hand. It would tear through him like a shotgun slug. Was the kid's hand blown off? No? Then it didn't leave a fucking crater in the ground either. How about some photographs? Oh, there are none? Hmmm.

The only way I can read this is that "foot wide crater" must mean something more like "hit a pile of dust and pebbles, and scattered things as far as a foot." Then it starts to make more sense. Still, AFAICT, this claim is unproven. Which means that jumping through hoops in the reading may not be worth the effort.

echte grammar nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312491)

hier ist meine chance ein "grammar nazi" zu sein!

eine minute, bitte.

Re:ein minuten bitte (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312507)

Did you really just say meteors aren't hot? They burn up in our atmosphere how wouldn't they be hot. Heat is cause when anything enters the atmosphere at high speeds it is the same reason that all space crafts have special heat resistant tiles on their underbodies for when they reenter the atmosphere.

Re:ein minuten bitte (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312601)

Yes it is true that some burn off all of the layers and become in covered in ice, but some don't. Meteors have been found both still hot and covered in ice. and I hit submit when I went to hit edit, which is why I'm responding to myself.

Re:ein minuten bitte (1)

spidercoz (947220) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312681)

Friction due to deceleration, all that heat is in the air around the meteor, not the meteor itself. Someone further up the thread posted a link explaining this.

Re:ein minuten bitte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312661)

First, meteors aren't hot.

wtf? and this gets modded up to 5?

Very Very Valuable (1)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312059)

In the meteorite marketplace, any that have hit a man-made object are significantly more valuable, given the rarity of such an occurrence.

A meteorite known to have hit a person would be even more so.

But anyone in such a position would be considered lucky if it doesn't kill them.

More likely shrapnel (5, Insightful)

rminsk (831757) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312073)

The injury was more likely from the debris kicked up from the impact of the meteor on the ground than the meteor directly striking him on the hand.

Re:More likely shrapnel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312385)

The injury was more likely from the debris kicked up from the impact of the meteor on the ground than the meteor directly striking him on the hand.

I guess that would drop the charges against the meteor from attempted murder to criminal negligence. Although I am not a lawyer. Or a meteor.

Re:More likely shrapnel (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312555)

And how exactly do you presume that debris managed to strike him before the meteor reached the ground?

Re:More likely shrapnel (4, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312707)

It's pretty easy to invert the order when you're trying to remember events which were approximately only milliseconds apart. Especially so when you weren't expecting them to happen in the first place and so weren't paying close attention to the order.

Bar conversations (4, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312097)

This guy now automatically wins all bar scar-comparing competitions (when he's allowed to go in a bar, that is).

See this? My cat attacked me, gashed my wrist all the way to the bone.

That's nothing. Look here, rabid racoon, I had to be quarantined for days.

Child's play. Look at this, shot myself with a nail gun, stumbled back and stepped on a rake.

Oh yeah? Well God shot me with a meteorite.

Well, sucks to be him (1)

lanceran (1575541) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312125)

Now this boy is never gonna win an actual lottery or get anything remotely exciting happen to him. I mean, what are the odds of getting hit by an asteroid AND seeing a leprechaun?

Re:Well, sucks to be him (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312709)

The odds of both happening to one person are quite slight indeed. As an individual, having the one happen has no bearing on the other.

Not a likely story (0, Redundant)

reginaldo (1412879) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312129)

There is no way that a meteor would only scar the boy's hand, and then leave a 'foot sized crater' in the road. The only alternative I can see is that the meteor bounced off the road and then hit the boy's hand, but that is equally as implausible.

Red flags (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312165)

ON ;picture
No reference
A pea sized Meteorite wouldn't have been traveling fast enough to leave a " foot sized crater on the road. "

If something the size of a pea falling from space could leave a foot sized crater, then building would have a tough time of it becasue we are bombarded with things this size hitting the ground all the time.

Another example, shoot a bullet straight up* and when it falls and hits the ground it will be traveling about as fast as a meteorite.
Hell shot a bullet into the ground and you still wont have a foot sized crater, and that is traveling many, many, times vaster then the terminal velocity of the meteor

*don't shoot a bullet straight up.

Re:Red flags (3, Funny)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312345)

Another example, shoot a bullet straight up*...

Are you just trying to see how many of the dumber /.ers you can kill? Cause I hear you can get a higher % return at digg.

(ack the low blow for comedy's sake)

..hit by 30,000 mph.. really? (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312167)

The article states that "14-year-old hit by 30,000 mph space meteorite", which sounds like he would have been hit by it with this velocity. Now if he would have been, then he and his near surrounding would be dust. It's true, that meteorites get this speeds when they enter atmosphere, but in the final phase before impact they are slowed down to only a few mph because of the air resistance.

Only really huge fucking cataclysmic asteroids reach ground with devastating speeds (the much bigger ones that create lake size craters).

Also the chance to get hit by an asteroid are astronomically small for an individual, true, but what do you expect when 8 billion people are jumping around all day? Of course it hits someone sometimes.

Creepy... (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312171)

I had a nightmare about this just a couple of days ago!

I was in some icy place like the arctic or something, looking at the Aurora Borealis, which was beautiful, and then i saw one point get really bright and then in an instant i realized it was a meteorite and it was coming right for me. It landed about 5 feet from me and I had only enough time to be incredibly frightened and then try to turn to run, but it hit before i could even turn, and then rather than just ending, the dream sort of froze, and I had this terrible feeling that everything was over and I hadn't been able to do anything about it.

I woke up with chills, it was really fucking creepy. I almost never have nightmares either, and I've never had one like that. It was so real and just really impressed the helplessness we have when something like that is happening.

It's even weirder that it happened in real life. I don't really believe in premonitions but that is weird.
-Taylor

Re:Creepy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312321)

That story only really makes sense if YOU are the 14-year-old boy who was smote by the meteorite.
Otherwise you're just one of those awkward guys who, after stumbling into co-workers at lunch talking about football, tells about the magical fairy farm that his Uncle has.

Lightning shaped scar (5, Funny)

WoodenTable (1434059) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312221)

For everyone who can't see it because the image was cropped, I can confirm that the scar is indeed shaped exactly like a lightning bolt. In line with the prophecy from 1979 that states that "the boy who lived" with "lightning in his hand" may one day confront and defeat the terrifying Asteroid menace, I believe we have finally found our champion, the one who finally end the Asteroid threat to all of Earth once and for all. But we'll have to work hard to keep more Asteroids from hitting him in the meantime... are we up to it? I believe so. It is - he is... perhaps our greatest hope.

I want to know... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312291)

What kind of super-powers he developed afterwards.

***

My guess, he did not get hit by the meteorite that made the 1ft crater. Rather, he probably got hit by a small granual fragment that had broken off of the meteorite.

odds (3, Insightful)

paulpach (798828) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312349)

2 people hit out of 6 billion in the world, so odds are 1 in 3 billion or the PDOOMA 1 in 1 million FTA

what are the odds that either the androgynous boy or some reporter made the whole thing up?

uh-oh (2, Funny)

KingPin27 (1290730) | more than 4 years ago | (#28312355)

So now what? random genetic mutations? Green Skin? Red Laser Shooting Eyes?
Or maybe something cool like a sex hungry space alien ala Species?

Anonymous Coward (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28312423)

no frigging way that tiny thing made a foot wide hole in the ground or pierce through skin, no frigging way!

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