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The Chelyabinsk Meteor: Can We Survive a Bigger Impact?

Dr. David MorrisonNovember 6, 2013

Dr. David Morrison (SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center)

Listen (mp3 file, 26.4 MB)

In February 2013, a rocky projectile entered the Earth’s atmosphere and its explosion, at an altitude of 14 mi, released energy equivalent to a couple dozen Hiroshima-sized atom bombs. About two minutes later, the shock wave reached the ground in Chelyabinsk, Russia, breaking windows and injuring about 1500 people from flying glass. Has this event served as a kind of cosmic wake-up call for planetary defense? NASA recently announced a “grand challenge” to find all asteroids that could threaten human populations, and to figure out how to deal with them. David Morrison, a nationally-recognized expert about asteroids, discusses the Russian impact and evaluates ways we might meet the grand challenge to protect our population from space debris.