SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- It was the blast heard around the world, when a meteor collided into Russia, destroying a factory and injury 1,000 people.
Researchers say the meteor that hit Russia had the destructive power of an atomic bomb but geologists say there are ways we can prepare.
"It certainly brings up the point that we need to be vigilant about looking for these things more than we are," says Geologist Lou Blanck.
Blanck says the reason, the meteor wasn't detected sooner is because most radars only detect massive meteors that can destroy planets.
Most meteors are very heavy because they are usually made of pure iron and nickel and experts says meteors aren't the only thing we should worry about. Researchers say a 143,000 ton asteroid buzzed by earth and if one were to hit us, it would be catastrophic. The "2012 DA 14" asteroid passed within 17,200 miles of earth.
But there are ways we can divert an asteroids path.
Back in 2005, NASA did launch a spacecraft to intentionally hit a comet but researchers say testing that technology on an asteroid and perfecting it, would be the challenge.
"Some people talk about having a solar sail which could catch the wind of the sun and help pull it out of the direction it's going," says Blanck. "Maybe attaching rockets to it to make it divert from it's current course," says Blanck.
He says the most important thing is time.
"It's more how much warning do we have," says Blanck. "And how much distance from the planet earth."
Blanck says the meteor and the near-miss asteroid were not likely related to each other because they were traveling different paths at different speeds.
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