Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Story-A-Day #68: Tunguska


I enjoy old technology – Atari game consoles, vintage phones, cell phone from the ‘80s. They are fun little relics that show us how quickly we are developing as a society. I recently had the good fortune of stumbling upon an old Commodore PET computer, quite the advanced piece of technology for the late 1970s. I wasn’t sure that there was anything of value – besides the good laugh I received at the home page screen notification of 7,167 Bytes of available memory. Yes, BYTES. That’s less that this post will take. While messing around with some BASIC coding (talk about digging through the old mind vault), I found a rather interesting file tucked away in a rather obscure string of data. It was written in Russian, but I had it translated…

January 18, 1982. 22:17 KRAT

It has been a little more than seventy years since the event occurred. It remained mostly off-the-record in for a couple decades despite thoroughly decimating the lands that surrounded the Podkamennaya Tunguska River. It was an unexplainable, violent explosion that occurred at approximately 7:14am on June 30, 1908.

What that must have been like? Some eyewitnesses described a tear in the sky, others a bright blue streak, almost as bright as the sun itself, that burnt a path across the early morning sky. Then there was the explosion.

80 million trees were flattened over an area of 2,150 square kilometers. People for miles around felt the impact and those close to the impact were knocked to the ground or thrown into the air. Some of them had their hair singed by a wave of unexplainable heat.

Initial scientific hypotheses chalked it up to a meteoric impact, but there were no craters to be found. Following theories attributed the blast area to the airburst of a meteoroid 6-10 kilometres above the earth’s surface.

We have set up this outpost now based on recent findings of Senior Lieutenant Igor Aisenyev, who is in charge of this outpost. He has found evidence in support of the potential for an extraterrestrial object that skipped through this region causing the devastation. As lead researcher, it is my role to ascertain the likelihood of this scenario. I have posited to the Senior Lieutenant that this scenario is entirely possible and that the resultant point of impact, according to my initial research, would be somewhere in the Canadian Arctic.

I look forward to solving this great mystery for Mother Russia. It will be a long process, but the answer is there for us to discover.

Warrant Officer
Vladimir Balakirev

Pretty weird stuff. I’ve heard of Tunguska, but I have no idea what any of the rest of it means, or why it was on this old PET. I’d like to look into this a little deeper, but first I need to figure out how to get Jumpman working.

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