Members of a Russian scientific team researching the site of the Tunguska meteorite crash of 1908 say they have found remnants of an extraterrestrial spacecraft, report a variety of Russian news agencies.

The object appeared to be a large metallic block, according to the reports. The researchers chipped off a piece of the object and will now test its composition.

One scientist said based on his calculations, the mass of the space object headed for Earth in 1908 was nearly 1 billion tons. He believes the meteorite was blasted by the spaceship at an altitude of 10 kilometers to prevent the destruction of all humanity on the planet.

“I am fully confident and I can make an official statement that we were saved by some forces of a superior civilization,” Yuri Lavbin said. “They exploded this enormous meteorite that headed towards us with enormous speed,” he said. “Now this great object that caused the meteorite to explode is found at last. We will continue our research,” he added.

Lavbin says that the results of this year’s expedition give him hope that the Tunguska mystery will be solved before the phenomenon’s 100th anniversary. To do this, Russian researchers plan another large-scale expedition to the Eastern Siberia.

The scientific team says the Tunguska event was an aerial explosion that occurred near the Tunguska River in Siberia June 30, 1908. The blast felled an estimated 60 million trees over 2,150-square kilometers. Local residents observed a huge fireball, almost as bright as the Sun, moving across the sky. A few minutes later, there was a flash that lit up half of the sky, followed by a shock wave that knocked people off their feet and broke windows up to 400 miles away.

The explosion registered at seismic stations across Eurasia, and produced fluctuations in atmospheric pressure strong enough to be detected by the recently invented barographs in Britain. Over the next few weeks, night skies over Europe and western Russia glowed brightly enough for people to read by. In the United States, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the Mount Wilson Observatory observed a decrease in atmospheric transparency that lasted for several months.

The size of the blast was later estimated to be between 10 and 15 megatons. Until this year members of numerous expeditions have failed to find any remains of the object that caused the event.

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