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Russia Meteor Tourism Now Becoming a Thing

March 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM | by | ()

A Russian region once shunned as the site of the world's third-worst-ever nuclear disaster, in which hundreds of people were killed, has now become a potential tourist destination because it was hit by a giant space rock that injured thousands of additional people. The local tourism board is actually talking about making parts of the territory into a "Meteor Disneyland," a reference to last month's Russian meteor.

That's it.

More details? You got it. Apparently the territory of Chelyabinsk was the site of a 1957 processing facility explosion that killed hundreds of people via, among other things, the release of "dozens of tons of high-level radioactive waste." It's also apparently where those insane dashcam videos of February's meteor came from. Wikipedia explains that technically the meteor "exploded in an air burst" over Chelyabinsk, and that an air burst is "the detonation of an explosive device [or incoming meteor] in the air instead of on contact with the ground."

According to the estimation of local tourism officials, the presence of killer space rocks will overcome the region's stigma of being a radioactive wasteland. Hmmmm.

Listen. This doesn't sound like a terrible idea. There are meteor fragments left all over that area, and a lot of them can be found in a gigantic local lake. We could easily see arranged, specialized tours where space lovers would go hiking and diving for rocks with experts who could identify fragments. Apparently there are already bids from Japanese tour companies to do exactly that. This happens all the time with all kinds of things—minerals, plants, animals, etc. It's probably overly ambitious to talk about putting a "floating beacon-tipped pyramid” atop the lake, but the overarching notion isn't incoherent.

So we'll just note that "radioactive wasteland" is a hell of a brand to overcome, and wish the locals the best of luck.

[Photo: Nikita Plekhanov / Wiki Commons]

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