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Asteroid explosion was a whopper for Earth
Experts say space rock blast may have been in more than a decade
By Leonard David
updated 6:01 p.m. ET, Thurs., Oct . 29, 2009
GOLDEN, Colo. - A space rock explosion earlier this month over an island region of Indonesia is now being viewed as perhaps the biggest object to tangle with the Earth in more than a decade.
On Oct. 8, reports from Indonesia told of a loud air blast around 11 a.m. local time. One report indicated a bright fireball, accompanied by an explosion and lingering dust cloud, as the origin of the air blast.
According to experts at the NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office in Pasadena, Calif. — Don Yeomans, Paul Chodas, Steve Chesley — the blast is thought to be due to the atmospheric entry of an asteroid more than 30 feet in diameter. Due to atmospheric pressure, the object is thought to have detonated in the atmosphere, yielding an energy release of about 50 kilotons (the equivalent of 110,000,000 pounds of TNT explosives).