Meteor strikes London 1

Meteorites

Meteorite Crashes Into London Cab

29 Jun , 2012 by


Londoners awoke this morning to news of a meteorite which struck a taxi in the heart of the city’s busy shopping district Covent Garden. Witnesses were left stunned by what looked like a scene straight out of a science fiction film. An incident team arrived almost immediately to cordon off the meteorite and keep the public at a safe distance.

No one was injured as a result of the incident, but it’s a cosmic harbinger of things to come…

Of course, the “things to come” turn out to be 4 weeks of science programs on Eden TV’s Science Month, which starts up in July.

The incident was in fact a well-orchestrated publicity stunt by the UK’s Eden TV (Sky 532 Virgin 208). Science Month will run all day every day during the month of July. Highlights in the first week include Wonders of the Universe (Monday 2 July at 9pm), Finding Life Beyond Earth (Monday 2 July at 10pm), The Code (Wednesday 4 July at 10pm) and Deadliest Volcano (Thursday 5 July at 7pm).

Sure, after all’s said and done it was a PR stunt. But it was a cool PR stunt (even if not quite scientifically accurate!)

Come on, we all know that meteorites aren’t steaming hot when they land. 😉

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By  -        
A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!



33 Responses

  1. Aqua4U says:

    No WAY! That’s GOT to be a fake… a stone meteor that big would have left a crater after punching thru that cab. Somebody’s on the make~

  2. Phelan KA says:

    Dumb.

  3. James Scott says:

    That photo looks ridiculous.

  4. How many permits etc. did you have to get for that explosion,and I wonder how many 999 calls where received.

  5. That was an absolute disgrace. Awful, wrong, terrible looking. If this panto-level dross is supposed to promote science it’s little wonder than most people have such a poor grasp of even the basics.

    • That’s present-day TV and media for you! Who cares about boring real facts and real life? Shallow sensationalism sells big time everywhere!

      • Lorin Ionita says:

        Actually if they wanted sensationalism they would have exaggerated the damage (although you could think of this also being exaggerated). The sound of the explosion was cool though.

  6. lcrowell says:

    I watched this on the front UT page. I thought it might have been real until I saw the damage. A meteor that size would have sent that cab into flying shards and there would have been a crater several times the diameter of this rock. LC

  7. joseluis j says:

    Please leave stupid things aside. Not for this serious site.

  8. forj says:

    why is this on Universe Today’s site?

  9. Jonathan May says:

    Ugh, badly done. The distressing thing is that the very young might actually believe those physics are possible.

  10. Such size of meteorite damages not only a taxi but seriously a large area of London. It’s really ridiculous.

  11. Jason Major says:

    Wow. Some folks just have no sense of humor…

  12. kkt says:

    I read Universe Today for news about astronomy, space flight, etc. This story belongs on Stupid Publicity Stunts Today.

  13. hionthemountain says:

    Oh !! that was so real . . . !!

  14. Why would a science website have a mis-leading story that requires you to click on the story to find out that it’s a hoax? That’s a ding on UT’s credibility. This might be appropriate on April 1st…

  15. Jason Major wrote:

    “Wow. Some folks just have no sense of humor…”

    Hmm, I really don’t know what to make of this story. Even though I agree with Jason that this story is hilarious, and that humor is never a bad thing, and possibly the PR stunt was made with a good intention to promote science, it is so badly and erroneously executed that in the end it does the opposite thing exactly, and leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth.

    This is supposed to be a science show. And for my money, the first thing you have to remember in a science show is that you don’t have to slide to sensationalism to create a stir. Real science just rocks by itself.

    And then we are annoyed when sci-fi movies get the science bad…

  16. Amusing, yes – but I didn’t like the fake-out in the title. I assumed it was real.

  17. BertieSeyffert says:

    I could sense something was off when I read the “safe distance” thing… 😀 I mean come on, it’s not like it’s gonna jump up and bite you :D. And to everyone nipping at them for their absurdly inaccurate portrayal of a meteor impact, shame on you. Science is not about accuracy, it’s about imagination and wonder. Accuracy in practising science makes the science better, and accuracy in reporting the findings of science empowers the entire human race, but to demand accuracy from a PR stunt is simply idiotic. Just imagine how impressive this would have been if it was just some guy standing there at a booth holding a sign saying “Most meteors entering Earth’s atmosphere burn up long before impact. This car next to me is standing where our fictional meteor would have hit had the world been fun… Watch science week…”… This over-the-top stunt grabs the imagination and engages the audience on a level they enjoy, through humour and novelty. Bringing science to the wider public doesn’t mean throwing them with facts, it means inspiring questions and ensuring the availability of proper and accurate answers. Have Clarke and Sagan and De Grasse Tyson and Kaku taught you nothing??? Oh, and I for one enjoy a light-hearted, yet relevant, story on UT every now and then… :)

    • Jason Major says:

      Thanks Bertie. Sometimes even us science bloggers like a little fun now and then… especially when it involves smashed cabs and space rocks. I started liking space because of shows like Star Trek and Star Wars movies, like many people I bet, and while those definitely aren’t hard science, they are still fun and inspirational.

    • Lorin Ionita says:

      Although I think it’s OK to sometimes have humor in science shows, it’s not good to have wildly unrealistic things happen in the presentation for the show. What if in the show, people who don’t quite know what a massive rock like that does, they watch an episode where a football sized meteor destroys a whole house. Wouldn’t that throw them off?

  18. Kawarthajon says:

    I’d be afraid that people would have thought it was some sort of terrorist bomb, especially in London where they’re sort of touchy about that sort of thing after the subway bombings, although I guess the smoke and bang may have been added to the video later.

  19. ft_c says:

    science please…. this is a disgrace!

  20. Geez, they couldn’t even do some basic research to make the stunt look feasible on the edited film. Why a huge balloon of a boulder? Why not a rock the size of a golf ball and a hole in the roof of the car? I suppose that it depends on the target audience. If they want to appeal to people who know nothing and care nothing about what an asteroid impact actually does, this video may work great.

  21. Rick Holcomb says:

    Uh oh. Please, please, I hope UT isn’t going the way of SDC. I like to think I have a pretty good sense of humor( of course, people with NO sense of humor say the same); amusement and laughter is the spice of life.
    But this is not funny. It is just… stoopid. And the stunt, as well as the show, and the article about it, is a grave dumbing down of science.

  22. John Stock says:

    Why why why? At least change the title to denote that it was fake!

  23. Michael Cox says:

    The headline at least should have been based on reality, i.e. “Eden TV stages meteorite hitting cab to promote science month.” Please do not falsify headlines, I read UT for real scientific/astronomy news.

  24. Lighten up, everybody. It was a harmless stunt to get people thinking about science.

  25. DarkGnat says:

    I was expecting to see the rock crack open revealing a baby inside, but then I remembered that happened in Kansas.

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