Chicken Little would have lost his cookies, yet the Russian driver in this video appears to have kept his wits about him despite the unannounced arrival of a massive fireball falling from the early morning sky – a spectacular event caught by an automotive dash cam – that injured nearly 1,000 people in Siberia.
While scientists estimate that tens of thousands of meteoroids fall from the sky each year, most are just tiny particles that burn up unseen. Only about five thousand are large enough to be really visible (at this point called a "fireball") and then break up and explode to earn the name "bolide." The bolide in the video left an impressive smoke trail of particulate during its ablation, but it also sent nearly a thousand Russians to the hospital for injuries suffered when its sonic blast blew out windows.
In case you are wondering, meteoroids enter the atmosphere at speeds between 25,000 and 160,000 mph. However, like a bullet hitting water, the earth's thick air quickly slows them (rapid compression of the air in front of the rock creates the familiar fiery glow) to a more palatable 200 to 400 mph before they impact the surface. The good news, especially for those who are worried about such events, is that most burn up and never make it all the way down. Check out the video below.