You might have heard of a new song making the rounds over the last week called “Meteorite” by Years & Years. It’s gaining popularity thanks to its place in the Bridget Jones’s Baby soundtrack, and a catchy line that involves someone being struck by a meteorite. Scientifically, the song is complete horseshit.
In between pleas to let him “feel your devotion” and maybe even “feel your emotion,” the lead singer lays it all out with what he really actually wants: “Just hit me like a meteorite.”
That’s a ridiculously stupid thing to want to experience. If you were hit by a meteorite, you’d be very painfully injured. With a large enough meteorite, you’d literally vaporize.
There aren’t many recorded experiences of the phenomenon: The lifetime odds of being killed by a falling meteorite are 1 in 1.6 million. Considering Years & Years is attributing the listener’s love to something with astronomical odds, well, that’s not a good sign if you’re looking to fall in love.
The best-known incident of a meteorite striking a person is Ann Hodges in November 1954. The Alabama resident was minding her business and asleep in her house when a black rock the size of a softball hit her and left a gnarly dark bruise the size of a large fruit on her thigh.
So, if a meteorite is small enough, it won’t kill you, but it’ll do serious damage. After all, the average speed of a meteor entering Earth’s atmosphere is 25,000 mph to 160,000 mph. Most meteorites clock in at about one or two grams, but a few can stretch out several meters across in diameter. Regardless, anything traveling at that high of a speed can do serious damage no matter what size it is.
But let’s take the worst-case scenario. If one of those bigger meteorites managed to nail you, any parts of you that were not instantly incinerated by the super-hot friction of the Earth’s atmosphere on the rock would probably be flattened. Pretty image, no? The situation isn’t much better if the space rock is theoretically smaller: The part that hits you would probably be ripped off from the rest of your body, with other organs and limbs being flung into other directions. Oh, and of course, some parts of your flesh would still get vaporized.
But on the bright side: Some bones might survive, though!