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STUDENT NEWS

Meteor Hits Russia; Political Fight Over the Sequester

Aired February 19, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: As we kick off a new week of CNN STUDENT NEWS, we`re going to start with what in the world caused this: well, for starters, it wasn`t from this world. It was a meteor, and it left that trail in the sky and caused a lot of problems on the ground in Russia. More than 1000 people were injured, most of that was from flying glass. The shock wave from this meteor shattered more than 75,000 square miles of glass. Here is an idea of what happened. Friday morning, this meteor entered the Earth`s atmosphere. When that happened, it exploded, broke up into a lot of smaller pieces and caused this huge light and a massive sonic boom.

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(EXPLOSION)

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AZUZ: That boom came from the energy of the meteor when it hit the atmosphere. This thing was around 55 feet wide, weighed around 10,000 tons. So, that`s about 20 million pounds.

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DAVID DUNDEE, ASTRONOMER, TELLUS SCIENCE MUSEUNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was traveling at 33,000 miles per hour, and as it decelerated, it`s kind of like a swimmer doing a belly flop from a very high diving board into -- into water.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, right.

DUNDEE: But you travel a lot faster than swimmer. So that energy has to go somewhere. That energy went into light that you saw on that street when it was hitting up that column of air, and the injuries why it happened because people naturally went to their window and saw this bright light, because light travels faster than sound. And then the sound arrived and shattered the windows when everybody was looking out of their window.

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AZUZ: It`s easy to talk about the science behind a sonic boom once it`s over, but living through it firsthand can be terrifying. We got a look at that from this video inside a Russian high school.

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(EXPLOSION)

(SCREAMING)

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AZUZ: There have been a lot of news reports the past couple of weeks about an asteroid. It passed by the Earth on Friday, the same day this meteor exploded over Russia. The two had nothing to do with each other. Tom Foreman has more on the one that stayed in space.

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TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This really was a very close call, with this asteroid in a cosmic sense. So, let`s get the lay of the land so we can understand how close it was. We always talk about the Moon as being close to the Earth. The Moon really isn`t all that close, the Moon is some quarter million miles out there. What`s much, much closer are satellites, the ones we`ve been launching for decades now. The furthest ones away from us, the from the surface of the Earth, about 22,000 miles out there, and this asteroid actually cut across the southern hemisphere, and right through the outer edge of those satellites. So the Earth is right here, we`re talking about some 17,000 miles above it, going through those satellites.

Now, there is no real danger it was going to hit the satellites, because we don`t have that many of them, frankly. They are small, and this was actually fairly small, too, but let`s look at the stats to talk about that. You may know it was known as 2012 DA14. It was about half the size of the football field, it was traveling close to 17,000-18,000 miles an hour. And if it had hit the Earth, we`re told that would explode with the force of more than 2 million tons of dynamite. What would that be like? How big would that be?

Well, by comparison, let`s think about what happened in Russia where that meteor exploded in the atmosphere about 30 miles above the Earth and produced all of that damage. That was about this big. If it were actually here right now, my comparison to it would be about like this. It`s not really that large. The asteroid that missed us, however, was more like this size, and you can just imagine the impact comparatively, if this came in and exploded in the atmosphere, of if this actually hit the Earth. And bear in mind, this is a relatively small asteroid. That`s one of the reasons so many scientists watched with interest and so many people are asking, is there something we might be able to do if something bigger than this starting heading our way?

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BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: About a trillion dollars worse of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year.

These cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester ...

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The sequester.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CALIFORNIA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Sequester ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sequester.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sequester.

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AZUZ: It seems everyone in Washington is talking about it, it`s shaping up to be another big political fight. What the heck is the sequester? It`s a series of budget cuts for the U.S. government. And unless President Obama and members of Congress can come up with another plan, it`s going to happen on March 1st.

Some people say the sequester should happen, that these cuts are exactly what the government needs to slow down its spending. But a lot of political leaders are talking about ways to stop the sequester. Here is the thing: they are the ones who came up with it in the first place.

This all goes back to 2011, and a plan to try to reduce the country`s debt. The sequester was part of the self-imposed deadline. If members of Congress couldn`t agree on a deal by a certain time, then these automatic cuts would go into effect. The idea was that the sequester would be so severe that there was no way anyone would let this happen. Now, thought, some congressional leaders are saying, they are pretty certain it will.

So what kind of cuts are talking about? About a trillion worth over the next nine years. It`s going to hit a lot of different government organizations and programs. Are most of us going to notice these cuts immediately or feel them directly? Probably not. But they could still have an impact on our lives.

For example, security line into the airport. The sequester might mean fewer agents to help with screening, that could be longer waits for passengers. Planning a visit to a national park. Budget cuts could lead to shorter hours there, fewer employees. There are also might be less money for the government to help out with recovery efforts after a natural disaster.

This sequester deadline has been pushed back before. The cuts were supposed to kick in at the start of the new year. Now, the new deadline is less than two weeks away.

Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mrs. Studee`s U.S. history classes at Oneida Nation High School in Wisconsin. What is the first starting position in a NASCAR race? If you think you know it, shout it out!

Is it the wedge, drift, pole, or bank? You`ve got three seconds, go!

The inside spot on the front row is called the Pole position. Starting there can give drivers an advantage. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."

You get there by qualifying, racing alone around the track, whoever drives the fastest lap, gets the best starting position for the actual race. Who did that for the Daytona 500? Danica Patrick. Why does that matter? She is the first woman ever to win the Pole position for that race or any top level Nascar race. How did she do it? He qualifying lap was 196.434 miles per hour. A little more than a tenth of a second faster than Jeff Gordon. Does this mean she`ll win? Not necessarily. Most Daytona 500 drivers who`ve started at the Pole position, haven`t. But it gives her a great start. Patrick says she was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl. But that there still something to learn from this.

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DANICA PATRICK, NASCAR DRIVER: I love that to go beyond racing in general, I mean just to kind of break gender barriers. I feel that one of the coolest things is to be able to think that parents and their kids are having that conversation at home about it. And to, you know, I`ve heard stories about -- a kid, or a boy or girl saying, but mommy, daddy, that`s a girl that`s out there racing, and then they can have that conversation to say, you can do anything you want to do and gender doesn`t matter. You passion is what matters and that`s cool.

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AZUZ: If you`re on Facebook, talk to us. Will Danica Patrick`s qualification make you more likely to watch the race? We`re looking for comments at Facebook.com/CNN STUDENT NEWS.

We also have a blog at cnnstudentnews.com where we ask what you would give up for 40 days, whether or not you`re observing Lent.

Giovanni said he`d try his very best to stop playing and wasting so much time on his iPad. Emily -- or Emile wrote, "Something I really love is soccer; going 40 days without that would be really hard. From Pauline, "I would give up fighting with my parents, because I do it a lot and I want to stop doing it." Priscilla is giving up searching the Internet as a recreation. It was starting to get in the way of my schoolwork. Caleb says, "I would and am, giving up video games for the 40 days of Lent." And from Soobin, "I will give up listening to my favorite songs in my iPad.

Teachers, you heard us read student comments on the show. We`re looking for years about the show. Please visit cnnstudentnews.com. Tell us what you think of today`s program.

A gulf tournament has its share of birdies, and eagles. This was a different animal altogether. Group of kangaroos stormed the course of the women`s Australian Open recently. Look at this, the mischievous marsupial marauders didn`t do any damage, although they did stop to snack on the greens. Other than that, they just parted around for a while. Still, causing a kind of delay is pretty rood. It might have teed of some of the golfers or at least have some of them hopping mad.

Hope you enjoy the rest of your day. For CNN STUDENT NEWS. I`m Carl Azuz.

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