While the Tamil Nadu government insists that a meteorite caused an explosion in a Vellore college and killed a man, scientists are not as sure. According to United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the photographs posted online of the dark-coloured stone recovered from the site look like the result of a “land-based explosion”, the New York Times reported.
Moreover, NASA scientists said a death by a meteorite impact has never been confirmed in recorded history. This view was shared by astronomer Michael Reynolds, who told National Geographic, “You have a better chance of getting hit by a tornado and a bolt of lightning and a hurricane all at the same time.”
The Indian Institute of Astrophysics, which is analysing the rock samples, also remained skeptical. Professor GC Anupama, the dean of the institute, said, “Considering that there was no prediction of a meteorite shower and there was no meteorite shower observed, this certainly is a rare phenomena if it is a meteorite.”
In Saturday's incident, a bus driver was killed at the engineering college after there was an explosion near its cafeteria. Two gardeners and a student were injured as well. The explosion left a small crater and shattered some windows. A pockmarked rock was recovered from the spot and sent for analysis. Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa offered the the driver’s family compensation of Rs 1 lakh.