Regarding that meteor that may or may not have struck the Earth near Lake Tahoe this past weekend, NASA now has a better estimate of just how big that flying chunk of colorful flaming space rock really was: Roughly the size of a minivan, except it was over 40 times heavier than your standard Plymouth Voyager (space joke) and it blew up over California's Central Valley with the energy of a 5-kiloton explosion.
According to the rocket scientists at NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the JPL in Pasadena, most meteors you spot zipping through the night sky are about the size of "tiny stones or even grains of sand." Big fireballs like this Sunday's range can be as small as a baseball or big enough to fit half your pee wee soccer team's starting lineup. Earlier reports guesstimated the meteor was about the size of a washing machine, so it's good to know how these things relate to everyday household objects, even if we are still kind of terrified one could come crashing through our roof at any second.
Anyhow, those folks who did get a glimpse of the meteor should consider themselves lucky. Events like this might happen about once a year, a JPL scientist explained, but they tend to happen over oceans and uninhabited wastelands, like the other 90% of Nevada.
Meanwhile, still no confirmed reports of space rocks actually raining apocalyptic hellfire on to the ground, so we can continue to rest easy about the doomsday predictions for now.