Visitors and staff to a historical museum in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk were shocked after they witnessed a display dome covering the Chelyabinsk meteorite lift off, sparking fears that the celestial body wanted to escape. The incident occurred on 14 December during the day. Footage from CCTV cameras posted online shows visitors to the museum roaming around exhibits with the chunk of the Chelyabinsk meteorite in the middle of the hall. At some point, the lid covering the space rock lifts off. Security staff ran to the scene and closed the dome after an alarm went off.
what a weird story, surely smth must have gone wrong with the mechanism. Museum CCTV footage shows protective dome over a fragment of Chelyabinsk meteorite rising apparently 'all by itself'. Museum director & staff insist they or faulty electronics had nothing to do with it pic.twitter.com/opOX1M7jsd— The Siberian Times (@siberian_times) December 17, 2019
Museum spokesman Yuri Bogatenkov said management and museum employees have no idea what caused this enigmatic incident. Staff have access to a remote control that lifts the dome, however, they all said they hadn't touched anything. The museum’s director said he consulted with tech experts, who unanimously said the dome could not have lifted off by itself.
"We spoke to all our specialists in electronics and wiring, who said unanimously that it was impossible to have it opening by itself. Yet it happened. Right after it happened I queried what could it possibly be, and there is no answer so far", said Vladimir Bogdanovsky.
The incident sparked fears that the meteorite tried to escape. "We laughingly said that the brother of the Chelyabinsk meteorite said ‘hi’ to our space rock, and it decided to respond", said Aivar Valeev, a museum employee. He added: "But jokes aside, our female staff are still a bit shaken".
Others fear that someone had decided to steal the celestial body or test the alarm system. However, Valeev brushed aside this version. He said it is quite difficult to lift the dome. “There were four electric motors on its edges. The whole structure is heavy. There is an alarm system in place plus all sorts of red tape linked to raising it”, Valeev said.
Russian’s Ministry of Culture has ordered the museum to review its security systems.
The Chelyabinsk meteorite struck the city in 2013 causing widespread damage. The blast wave impacted 3,000 buildings and shattered thousands of windows. Scientists said that if the space rock had not landed in Lake Chebarkul it would have caused a huge death toll.