If you like old black and white Russian documentaries with English subtitles, boy have I got the film for you. Back in February of 1947 a huge meteorite fell to Earth in the Russian Sikhote-Alin Mountain Range. The Russians sent in a crew to retrieve and document the fall, the above movie is part of the documentary. I got permission to put the movie on YouTube from the person who did the subtitles, it is condensed down to nine and a half minutes to fit on YouTube, if you want to download the whole 18 minutes you can go to the originating web site here.
The Sikhote-Alin meteorite was witnessed by many people, it made a huge smokey trail and bang that could be viewed and heard for 30 km around the impact zone. The impact made 30 craters and left 28 tonnes of material behind.
The image above are a couple of actual Sikhote-Alin meteorites, the one on the left is called meteorite shrapnel because it looks like twisted bomb shrapnel, the meteorite on the right is a small individual piece of the meteorite, both were gathered back then.
The images above are pictures taken under a microscope of the meteorite at 40 times magnification. Witnesses say it looked like a bright star then turned into a fireball leaving a large smoke trail behind, it entered the Earth's atmosphere at around 31,000 mph. The samples are quite heavy and magnetic as they consist of around 90% iron.
October 6 the Messenger Probe will make another flyby of our planet Mercury. This will be the second flyby of our little planet by the probe. Messenger will come to within 125 miles of it's surface to gather another gravity assist to slow it down for the eventual orbit of Mercury in March 2011.
Messenger has 6 major scientific questions to try and answer.
1. Why is Mercury so dense?
2. What is the geological history of Mercury?
3. What is the nature of Mercury's magnetic field?
4. What is the structure of Mercury's core?
5. What are the unusual materials at Mercury's poles?
6. What volatiles are important at Mercury?
Once in orbit Messenger will gather data to try and answer the above questions, the mission is slated to last for one year, ending March 2012.
I'll leave you now with a Sunset I took a couple nights ago, the Sun is slowly setting earlier everyday, a sign that winter and the minus 40c weather is on it's way, so sad.