Meteorite Hits With Energy Comparable to That of the Hiroshima Bomb:

A Norwegian paper reports:

"This is simply exceptional. I cannot imagine that we have had such a powerful meteorite impact in Norway in modern times. If the meteorite was as large as it seems to have been, we can compare it to the Hiroshima bomb. Of course the meteorite is not radioactive, but in explosive force we may be able to compare it to the (atomic) bomb," [astronomer Knut Jørgen] Røed Ødegaard said.

Fortunately, the meteorite landed in an out-of-the-way place (northern Norway), but it sounds like it would have been very bad if it had landed in a more populated area, or perhaps even in the ocean. This raises, I think, the old issue of how much we should fund asteroid defense, though I suspect that meteorite defense is much harder than asteroid defense. (I should note some uncertainty about what "we can compare it to the Hiroshima bomb" exactly means; it would be great if knowledgeable people can speak to that in the comments.)

Thanks to the excellent GeekPress for the pointer.

UPDATE: Commenter Jim Hu writes:

Follow up:

Truls Lynne Hansen of the Northern Lights Observatory (Nordlysobservatoriet) in Tromsø disputes Røed Ødegaard's description, calling it an exaggeration.

"Our atmosphere is peppered with small stones from outer space all the time," Hansen told newspaper Aftenposten. "Most burn up and disappear, but some land here."

He thinks that what hit northern Norway last week was a stone weighing around 12 kilos (about 26 pounds).

Ødegaard estimated more than the previous record of 90 kilos. There's a photo of the impact site at the link. It's hard to tell the scale, but it doesn't look Hiroshima-like.