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Former astronaut Ed Lu, a co-founder of the planetary defense nonprofit B612 Foundation, is hesitant to speculate on what the effects might have been had the meteor come down in a more populous area, but he says our best frame of reference is the Chelyabinsk. That meteor was a bit bigger (about 20 meters across), and although it was moving away from the city of Chelyabinsk and was dozens of miles away, it broke tens of thousands of windows and even caused several buildings to collapse. An estimated 1,500 people needed medical treatment.
“It doesn’t have to be very big to cause a large explosion,” says Lu. Something that’s just several meters in diameter can still explode with 10 times the energy of the bomb that landed on Hiroshima.
Event - Concern - Object - Kind - Communities
Naturally, the event emphasizes the concern that a near-Earth object of some kind could devastate communities on the ground.
“It’s a reminder that the solar system does affect our lives,” says Lu. Although the vast majority of asteroid impacts are too small to worry about, there are always events like this which could threaten our safety. And like this rock, they...
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