February 17, 2013
Although the probability of a meteorite crashing in their backyards shouldn’t keep ordinary people up at night, scientists who study such matters are worried.
The meteor that streaked across the Russian sky Friday startled scientists worldwide with its audacity, even as it triggered a window- and roof-rattling shockwave that injured more than 1,000 people in the city of Chelyabinsk.
Astronomers on Friday had their eyes skyward on a separate object, the much larger asteroid known as 2012 DA14. It was coincidence that it came so close to Earth at the same time a meteoroid flamed into the atmosphere over Russia’s Ural Mountains, NASA scientists said.
Still, scientists are paying attention to the paths of future near-Earth objects. One nonprofit space research foundation plans an infrared telescope that will be able to detect more meteorites that have potential to inflict damage on world cities.
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