The Main Stream

Apr 12, 2013 1:18 PM by Ryan Haarer

Should you worry about an asteroid causing destruction?

TUCSON- Asteroids hit the earth several times a year. The meteorite that hit in Russia was just well documented thanks to the many dashboard cameras in a highly populated area. The remnants are quite valuable and Tucsonan Bob Haag got a piece of it.

"Something like this wouldn't really do much. The explosion and the shock wave from the busted glass and all that. But that was a little one," said Haag.

So what about the bigger ones? Are we in danger?

"We really don't need to lose any sleep over a large asteroid wiping out a huge city or a country right now. That can happen and will happen in the future if we don't do anything about it right now," claims former astronaut Tom Jones.

Jones says there are several methods NASA is exploring to stop a major impact. The most obvious is finding the ones that can do the most damage.

"They found over 90 percent of the large civilization destroying asteroids and none of them are headed our way right now. So the big, big mass extinction kind of danger has been eliminated by our search," said Jones.

If a big one were headed toward earth NASA can throw the asteroid off course by using a satellite to create gravitational pull, fire a high velocity bullet at it or create a powerful nuclear explosion in space. They are methods NASA is testing, and Dr. Jones hopes the exploration will expand. But, the biggest asteroids may not be our biggest problem right now.

"The likelihood today is that we will be struck by a small asteroid but without any warning at all. We can change that situation by going into space to do a thorough search," said Jones.

In terms of doing a more thorough search space telescopes will be needed to do what earth telescopes cannot. Grounded telescopes are too far from some rocks to see. Also, artificial light on earth creates a glow also limiting the view.

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