Space rocks have flattened forests, blasted giant holes in the ground, and killed off the dinosaurs and other life. They’ve damaged houses and cars, injured a few people, and one — a rock from Mars — might or might not have killed a dog. And there’s even evidence that they’ve killed people.
The records of human fatalities are all at least a century old. Most of them have been found in reliable sources, such as official records of the Chinese and Ottoman empires, although many experts doubt them.
Recently reviewed Ottoman records reported that one man was killed when a rock fell in modern-day Iraq in 1888. And in China, records say the sky “rained iron” in 1341, claiming many victims.
An even bigger rain of meteorites was recorded in China in 1490. Several sources say the shower killed at least 10,000 people. Although present-day scientists doubt the number, they note that giant showers of stones have been confirmed. In 1868, for example, more than a hundred thousand fragments pelted Poland — but there were no reports of deaths.
Recent studies have concluded that an asteroid exploded above Jordan almost 3700 years ago. The blast would have been similar to several seen above Russia in the 20th century, but much more powerful. Researchers say the explosion demolished three cities, which housed 50,000 residents. The area remained abandoned for centuries — the aftermath of a cosmic explosion.
Script by Damond Benningfield