Thursday, October 1, 2020

Asteroid lands at the CKGR

An asteroid from outer space that recently crashed in the controversial Central Kalahari Game Reserve signal a potential for a geo-hazard as there are fears that there could have been causalities had it struck a densely populated area.  

The asteroid  was detected  by NASA defence system early before it hit the earth  sending a blast wave like an atomic bomb when it exploded in the air before hitting the ground in CKGR.

It was a frightening experience witnessed by the  inhabitants of the CKGR and tourists who had to seek refuge in their lavish tourists camps in CKGR.

The asteroid that fell on CKGR is part of the objects that exist in between Jupiter and Mars. It is believed that they could have collided with other objects before its trajectory to earth.

According to Botswana Geo Science Institute, Geological expert  Tiyapo Ngwisanyi a  search team was set up and dispatched to a site inside the CKGR where the asteroids fell in search for the asteroid that was initially reported to have hit earth between South Africa and Botswana border.

Ngwisanyi confirmed that that the asteroids fell inside Botswana, specifically inside the CKGR as they have recovered some of the particles where it fell after exploding twenty seven kilometres before it hit the ground.

According to him a team of experts from Botswana, South Africa,Finland and the United States of America recovered a fresh meteriorate in Botswana which is part of fragments of asteroids 2018 LA that collided with earth on June 22 last month and turned into meteor fireball that detonated over Botswana a few seconds after entering atmosphere.

He emphasised that a number of security cameras in Rakops and Maun captured a rare incident, setting tongues wagging among a number of spectators who had witnessed the incident.

He explained that the Asteroid 2018 LA was detected in space eight hours before hitting Earth by Catalina sky Survey operated by the University of Arizona and sponsored by NASA as part of its Planetary Defence mission.

According to him this is the third time in history that an Earth bound was detected early and only the second time that fragments were recovered.

He further emphasised that after disruption the asteroid fragments were blown by the wind while falling down scattering over a wide area.He explained that the calculations of the landing area were done independently by US-based group headed by Peter Jenniskens a subject expert of the NASA-sponsored STI Institute in California as well as Esko Lyytinen and Jarmo Moilanen of the Finnish Fireball Network(FFN).

Ngwisanyi also emphasised that the meteorite was found after five days of walking and scouring around by a team of geoscientists from Botswana International University of Science and Technology Botswana Geosciences Institute and University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute. According to the team of experts the importance of the find is two-fold: It has ernomours scientific value and it allows to better calibrate the so-called ‘’Earth Defense” against impacting asteroids.

According to Jenniskens, the experts  who travelled to Botswana to assist in the search teamed up with Oliver Moses from ORI to gather security surveillance videos in Rakops and Maun to get better constraints on the position and altitude of the fireball’s explosion.

Professor Alexander Proyer from BIUST led the joint expedition while Mohutsiwa Gabadirwe a curator with Botswana Geosciences coordinated access to the protected area in the game reserve. Another team member was Proffessor Roger Gibson who is a Head of School of Geosciences at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

However Ngwisanyi indicated that the meteorite impact with earth has not caused any impact on the ground as it was not recorded by earthquake station.  He indicated that the incident poses a potential geo harzard. 

“Had it struck a densely populated area there could have been injuries or it could have caused damages,” he added.

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