“From a plane crash into an overpass to a massive roadside cow-tastrophe.”

During Meteor Strike Corey Johnson (How the Earth was Made) narrates the story of the meteor strike which impacted just outside Chelyabinsk on February 15, 2013. The last time there was a strike like this was in 1908 outside of Siberia, but then there were few eyewitnesses and thus little information was gathered. Now, with the population of Russia fully entrenched in the age of digital media, dozens of videos were captured via on-board dashcams and cell phones. Additional reports came from eyewitnesses and the many people sent to the hospital for injuries. What this unprecedented access means is scientists were able to collect and collate data like never before.

Meteor Strike runs through several key elements of the strike. First there’s the discussion of how big the meteor was, followed by its likely composition. Next up is the detailing of the meteor’s flight path and origin. Finally, the discussion rounds out with doomsday scenarios and the need to keep a watch on the skies. To that end, the scientists propose an infrared telescope be shot into space and rest outside of the sun’s gravitational field so as to observe the asteroid belt and give the folks back on Earth more warning about collisions like the Chelyabinsk strike.

Like many of its brethren this episode of NOVA¬†gives the facts and doesn’t care if they happen to freak the viewer out, as was the case for me watching Meteor Strike. The facts are that Earth has a potentially catastrophic strike about once a century but we currently see less than 50 percent of the asteroids in space which could be headed toward us at any moment. Also frightening is the lack of any plan if a catastrophic collision is detected. Thanks, Nova for fueling my nightmares. It’s extremely informative and educational and the hour flew by, but I’ll never look at a shooting star the same way.

The video is strong and the palette is deep and clear, specifically timed to showcase the computer graphics used to illustrate the meteor’s projected path and the like. I was especially impressed with the strength and clarity of the many clips from cell phones and the internet that were used. The audio was hit and miss but that’s largely dependent on where it was captured, be it inside or outside. Nonetheless it was audible, and subtitles are available if you really struggle.

There were no special features.

Though I do enjoy NOVA¬†an awful lot and found myself educated by Meteor Strike I don’t think a purchase is necessary. Look for it on your local PBS station.

THE VERDICT

Guilty of making me fear outer space even more.

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