Scientists in India recently hailed American space agency NASA’s efforts to detect and crash a big asteroid “Dymorphos” that was moving towards the earth at a speed of 14,000 miles per hour. “Dymorphos”, as big as a football stadium, was successfully crashed by DART spacecraft approximately 10.09 miles km from the earth. In November, NASA launched the spacecraft with the purpose of colliding with the asteroid and diverting its course.
A separate spacecraft deployed from DART captured images of the collision. NASA will share these images in the coming days.
NASA has thus developed a system by which it can shoot any big asteroid heading towards the earth and divert its trajectory so that it whizzes safely past the planet.
NASA scientists are to be congratulated for their big achievement in anticipating the asteroid and diverting its course.
In this connection, I wish to recall the 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake that was caused by impact of an asteroid when it brushed past the earth, but was taken as an earthquake in spite of the fact that a number of incidents connected with it prove that it was caused by the impact of an asteroid.
The Uttarkashi earthquake occurred on October 20, 1991 at 02:53:16 local time with a magnitude of 6.8 on the Richter scale. The jolt due to the earthquake was not of the type which normally happens when an earthquake takes place. People felt a jolt with a sound and light unlike the rumbling sound accompanied by mild swing-like action that continued for quite some time.
Though it was recorded officially as an earthquake, but that was the time when a big asteroid was going round the earth and NASA had earlier warned that it may hit our planet at any place. Though nowhere such an impact has been reported, but the way the earthquake of Uttarkashi took place, it left many marks which go to prove that the asteroid had just brushed passed the earth at that point and caused all the damage which has later been linked with plate movement.
Incidentally, a lot of light and heat was generated at the time which could be seen even in Dehradun and places far away and made a sound as if two metallic bodies hit each other.
People were surprised to notice brightness at night that never comes at the time of an earthquake. The sound produced was unlike the rumbling sound which one normally experiences at the time of an earthquake. Secondly, at the place of this impact, the changes which took place were not of the type which normally take place with earthquakes; the temperature of the epicentre, too, corroborates this.
In Uttarkashi region, bridges, culverts, electric poles and allied material got twisted unlike under the impact of an earthquake where such items sink into the ground or otherwise get damaged. The cracks in the houses and roads were also of the type which are caused by heavy impact and not by an earthquake. The impact was so much that many old houses even in Dehradun and adjoining places developed cracks. The damages reported at that time gave indication as if it was not an earthquake, but the impact of the asteroid that had brushed past the area. It was a mild impact as seen from the type of damage that took place. Had it been a bigger impact, the damage would have been much more.
The worst affected areas were located along the banks of the Bhagirathi valley, which is made up of soft alluvial soil. This soil was literally shaken by the event and led to the collapse of houses and other buildings.
This author tried to raise the issue several times to no avail. Hopefully, authorities concerned will take note of the issue now.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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