Meteors, pieces of rock from asteroids in space, fall to Earth all the time. Sometimes, especially at night, we see what are incorrectly called shooting stars—the glow of the rock burning up as it passes through upper layers of our planet’s atmosphere. After the rock cools, if there is anything left, it is then just a rock. A rock speeding along at around 300 kilometers per hour.
Up until 2012, nobody had ever caught a meteor on camera, during its so-called dark flight—the period after cooling down. A very lucky Norwegian skydiver was the first:
One summer day in 2012, Anders Helstrup and several other members of Oslo Parachute Club jumped from a small plane that had taken off from Østre Æra Airport in Hedmark.
Helstrup, wearing a wing suit and with two cameras fixed to his helmet, released his parachute. On the way down he realised something was happening…
“When we stopped the film, we could clearly see something that looked like a stone. At first it crossed my mind that it had been packed into a parachute, but it’s simply too big for that.”
Sure enough, researchers that have studied the film conclude that there is no other plausible explanation. Had Anders leapt from the plain a half-second earlier, he could have easily intercepted the meteorite, and according to one scientist, it would have probably ripped his body in two.
Here’s a video clip from a Norwegian TV show on the incident:
The jury is still out, so to speak, whether or not this is real or some kind of April Fools’ prank. We’ll see…
Image courtesy YouTube