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Watch: Meteor Injures Hundreds, OC Congressman Calls for Action

The celestial object caused untold damage in eastern Russia. Orange County Congressman Dana Rohrabacher sees it as a wake-up call for Earth.

Space.com is reporting that a meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere above eastern Russia over the Urals Mountains early Friday morning U.S. time and the resulting sonic boom shattered windows, damaged buildings and injured hundreds.

"This should serve as a wake-up call,’’ said Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, longtime Seal Beach and Newport Beach representative and the vice chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. "We have been looking forward to the close pass of asteroid 2012 DA14, which will pass between the Earth's surface and our communications satellites this afternoon.  We have calculated that there is no chance this asteroid will impact the Earth, and that we will get an opportunity for a close-up view as it flies past.  Unfortunately, we didn't see the one that exploded over Russia until it happened.’’

Rohrabacher vowed to work on legislation aimed at protecting the country from space debris.

"We have been spending millions to find and track asteroids and comets, but the indications are that this one was so small that we aren't even looking for objects of this size.  What concerns me even more, however, is the fact that we have no plan that can protect the Earth from any comet or asteroid.  So, even if we find one that will hit us, we might not be able to deflect it," he said in a written statement. "This is the only preventable natural disaster, and we have mounting evidence that this a real and tangible danger.  Our heartfelt prayers go out to all those affected by this event and this shows that we must protect ourselves, and the planet, from this clear danger. As Vice Chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, I'm working with the Chairman to expedite a hearing on planetary protection from these 'near Earth objects' as soon as we can."

According to Fox News, Russian officials are reporting over 400 people injured from the event, primarily from broken glass shattered in the sonic boom.

 

"I was driving to work," 36-year-old Viktor Prokofiev, a resident of Yekaterinburg, told Reuters. "It was quite dark, but it suddenly became as bright as if it was day."

As of this posting, no fatalities have been reported.

Videos of the event have turned up all over YouTube. You can view some of the footage in our media section.

Click here to read more about the event.

tony February 16, 2013 at 03:07 PM
I've lost all confidence in Dana. First, he sends me a congressional letter explaining he is prohibited from involving himself in local politics (I asked for a cup of coffee with him). Then, he proceeds to give endorsement to the mayor pro tem Dwyer ( who, by the way, was not elected) Now, Dana is taking opportunity to strengthen his base with space contracts to the state. It is just fine to bring work our way, but why manipulate the public to do it? Apparently, this politician's view is that we are all pathetic sheep. I can only complain so much, as our Democratic candidate wouldn't have been able to tie his own shoes. The caliber of person we need in political office has no desire to become part of the political corruption. The apathy of our voters re-enforces what we already have. Many think the vote doesn't matter; the whole thing is tainted, and there's some truth to that as well. I am of the impression people will not react for change until their comfort zone becomes obliterated. How long must this beat go on? Our children deserve better.
Brandon Korthuis February 16, 2013 at 03:30 PM
"We have been spending millions to find and track asteroids and comets," Well looks like we have just wasted time and money again. These idiots need to get fired and this so called program removed. Unbelievable that our politicians care about something so irrelevant.
Roy Everett February 16, 2013 at 09:19 PM
The chances of being killed by a meteorite are negligible: nobody human has ever been killed directly or indirectly by a meteorite, though the Urals hit this month seemed close because the shock wave dislodged glass and a roof or wall. Paying even $1 of taxpayers' money into a scheme declared to be for the early detection and possible deflection of rocks dropping spectacularly into a lake is essentially a Mencken scam, (although if that dollar relieves the anxiety of even one phobic Chicken Little bedwetter it saves on the tranquillizer!) More generally, the public is prone to exaggerate the risk of extremely unlikely events with huge impact, and underestimate the risk of highly likely events with small impact, resulting in poor financial judgement which can be ruthlessly exploited by alarmists. You are more likely to die of food poisoning from a poorly maintained fridge or from a gun than from a meteorite! Meanwhile, Representative Rohrabacher is correct regarding the climate issue, but could punch a lot harder. He is merely questioning whether current government policy is poor value for money when weighed against a contentious hazard; he could go a lot further and check if is a totally ruinous blunder based on wasting taxpayers' money on a wholly imaginary disaster scenario woven into fraud and racketeering. NASA/JPL is not NASA/GISS: the rogues in the latter should not be allowed to bask in the glory of the former.
Douglas Martin February 17, 2013 at 04:04 AM
Meteors crashing to Earth, creating short, spectacular sound bites played in heavy media rotation for 36 hours are a politician's dream. Climate change on the oher hand, plodding along at glacier-melting speed over decades is beyond most human's attention span. Representitive Rohrabacher is no slouch; he knows which issue will pay off handsomely in the short term, regardless of where the real threat is.
tiny February 17, 2013 at 10:17 PM
And God blessed them and said unto them, "Be fuitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the EARTH." But don't forget to look up. And don't be earthbound too long or you'll wind up like the dinosaurs!

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