Russia's massive meteorite: By the numbers

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A fragment of the Russian meteorite that could sell for $2,220 per gram.
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A fragment of the Russian meteorite that could sell for $2,220 per gram.

The big space rock that crashed into the Ural Mountains last week was the largest in a century, and worth more than its weight in gold

The bad news about the gigantic meteorite that crashed into the central Russian area of Chelyabinsk on Friday — the largest to hit the Earth in more than 100 years — is the unpleasant reminder that "space is out to kill you," says Spencer Ackerman at Wired. And "all the advanced air defenses that humanity has invested in?" The missiles, rockets, and early warning systems are all "useless, useless against a meteorite onslaught." The good news? "Space rocks are lousy shots," and most of the Earth's surface isn't inhabited by mankind. How big and powerful — and valuable — is this particular meteorite? Here's a look, by the numbers:

55
Diameter of the meteorite, in feet, according to NASA

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10,000
Weight of the meteorite, in tons

500
Amount of energy, in kilotons, put out by the meteor as it neared Earth — 30 times the energy of the atomic bomb that struck Hiroshima

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1,500
Injuries reported from the meteorite explosions, mostly from shattered windowpanes

$33 million
Estimated cost of the damage, according to local officials

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1908
Last time a meteorite this large is recorded hitting the Earth, in Tunguska, Siberia

80 million
Trees flattened by the 1908 meteorite

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40,000
Estimated speed of Friday's meteor, in miles per hour, before crashing, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos

567
Typical cruising speed of a Boeing 747, in miles per hour

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25
Diameter, in feet, of a hole in frozen Lake Chebarkul, believed to be where a large chunk crashed through the ice

53
"Small, stony, black objects," confirmed as meteorite fragments, that scientists have recovered so far from around Lake Chebarkul

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$2,220
Price per gram of recovered fragments of the meteorite — 40 times the price of gold — according to Dmitry Kachkalin, a member of the Russian Society of Amateur Meteorite Lovers

5,000
Rough estimate of known meteors 100 feet in diameter or bigger that could hit Earth, according to NASA

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Sources: Bloomberg Businessweek, CNN, Guardian, Reuters, Space.com, Wall Street Journal, Wired

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