The meteor which exploded over the Urals of central Russia was seen by Meteosat-9, at the edge of the satellite view. Hundreds of people were reportedly injured as the meteor’s massive sonic boom caused widespread damage. Image taken Feb. 15, 2013, 3:15 UTC. CREDIT: EUMETSAT

Russian Meteor Fallout: Military Satellite Data Should Be Shared

by Leonard David,’s Space Insider Columnist
Date: 18 February 2013 Time: 09:03 AM ET

Piecing together the true nature of the meteor that detonated over Russia would benefit by observations likely gleaned by U.S. military spacecraft.

But for several years, that data has been stamped classified and not made available to the scientific community that study near-Earth objects (NEOs) and any potential hazard to Earth from these celestial interlopers.

In the wake of the Russian meteor explosion, there is a renewed call to make data gathered by both space systems and ground networks speedily available to scientists.

Incoming meteoroids

“The satellites that monitor the skies around the world for missile launches also detect brilliant incoming meteoroids, including startling events much smaller than the Chelyabinsk bolide,” said asteroid expert Clark Chapman of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

This type of information is extremely valuable for helping scientists understand the potentially dangerous cosmic environment of planet Earth, Chapman told

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