Skydiver May Have Had Close Encounter With Meteorite
Norwegian skydiver Anders Helstrup may be pretty much incalculably lucky thanks to a chance encounter with a meteorite that has the skydiving and astronomy world buzzing. Helstrup did a wingsuit jump over his native land in June of 2012 and said he didn't see anything but he got the feeling something happened during the canopy stage of his jump. He was wearing a helmet camera and when he looked at the video he spotted something flashing through the frame. He eventually took it to the University of Oslo, where geologist Hans Amudsen broke down the frames on the video and determined Helstrup came within a few feet of being hit by an otherworldly rock. "If you'd jumped a fraction of a second later, you'd be dead," Amudsen reportedly told Helstrup.
The slow-motion video shows the object plunging vertically at high speed just in front of Helstrup shortly after he deployed his parachute. The extracted frames show what Amudsen says is the "dark flight" phase of a meteorite, after it has burned through the atmosphere and is just dropping like, well, a rock. Norway television network NRK says it has confirmed the authenticity of the video but Amudsen's fellow scientists are less sure. "I can't say if it's real or not ... Seems unlikely though," Phil Plait, an astronomy blogger, wrote according to AFP.