Did you know that in 1954 Ann Hodges was stuck by a meteorite while she took a nap on her couch? The grapefruit-sized meteorite crashed through the roof of her house, bounced off some furniture, and hit her in the side. This is the first verified case of a human being injured by something falling from space. Although space debris hurtles to Earth every day, the chance of someone getting hit is very, very rare. Some say, that you have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado, bolt of lightning, and hurricane all at the same time.
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This meteorite is known as the Sylacauga meteorite after where it fell (Sylacauga, Alabama) or the Hodges meteorite after the woman the meteorite struck. It weighed about 8.5 pounds.
Much of the kinetic energy of the meteorite was dispersed as it crashed into the house and furniture. Ann Hodges was only badly bruised by the meteorite.
Initially the event received a great amount of public attention. The meteorite was confiscated by the police, who gave it to the United States Air Force. Ann Hodges and her landlord each claimed that the meteorite was theirs. Eventually, the suit was settled with Hodges paying $500 for the meteorite. By then, the publicity had diminished and the Hodgeses could not find a buyer for the meteorite, so they donated it to the Alabama Museum of Natural History.
According to the US National Research Council, about 100 tonnes of very small objects, such as dust, fall from space to Earth every day. Most of this burns up in the atmosphere or lands in remote locations.
Michael Reynolds, an astronomer, said, “Think of how many people have lived throughout human history. You have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado and a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time.”