On Wednesday evening, residents in South Texas were startled by a loud boom. Video from a home security camera captured the moment the boom echoed across the town of McAllen.
Some residents of the upper Rio Grande Valley felt the ground shake and heard a large boom Wednesday after what officials said was a meteorite that fell west of McAllen. https://t.co/iFcdxLZJWo pic.twitter.com/sMee3tdeE3
— San Antonio Express-News (@ExpressNews) February 16, 2023
At least two pilots informed air traffic controllers in Houston, about 350 miles away, that a meteor had entered the atmosphere west of McAllen, according to a tweet by Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra.
After examining multiple reports, NASA released a statement Thursday that confirmed a meteoroid made entry near McAllen around 1800 ET.
“NASA experts believe the object was a meteoroid about two feet in diameter weighing about 1,000 pounds,” a statement from the space agency read.
NASA continued, “The angle and speed of entry, along with signatures in weather radar imagery, are consistent with other naturally occurring meteorite falls. Radar and other data indicate that meteorites did reach the ground from this event.”
According to the statement, when meteorites hit “Earth’s atmosphere at high speeds,” they tend to reduce speed and “break into small fragments before hitting the ground.”
NASA noted, “Small asteroids enter the atmosphere above the continental United States once or twice a year on average and often deliver meteorites to the ground.”
We have one question: Why didn’t planetary defense systems monitor the meteoroid, especially since it was a 1,000-pound chunk of space rock? Or was the military’s radar system too busy chasing balloons?