The meteor that exploded over Russia is a grim reminder that these space rocks can literally fall anywhere on Earth. According to the Sydney Morning Herald in their Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 edition, the injuries and damage seen in Russia from this small meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere might have gone unnoticed 100 years ago. With much more of the world populated today, it’s time to start thinking about a defense strategy against future space rocks.
NASA estimated the meteor released 30 times the power of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, according New England Cable News live Sunday morning. A direct hit would flatten a city the size of London. This type of destructive power is potentially lurking in space and it’s time to address this problem, according to Valdmir Lipunov, head of the Space Monitoring Laboratory with Moscow State University. He said:
''It is high time Russia should start investing heavily in building an advanced space danger monitoring and warning system and a system capable of destroying such super bombs falling on us.''
Dmitry Rogozin, Vice-Premier in charge of Russia’s defense industry, echoed his concerns on a Twitter post, tweeting that neither Russia nor the United States have the capability to shoot down objects from outer space.
Scientists are anxious to get their hands on a piece of the meteor that caused so much damage in Russia. They believe a piece fell off and landed in an area lake, where divers have been searching for any sign of the meteor remnants over the weekend. A piece of this space rock could help in the development of future defense strategies.
According to the Juice Couture on Friday, the U.S. doesn’t have a defense against these falling space rocks. Brian Weeden of the Secure Earth Foundation and a former missile expert with the U.S. Air Force Space Command reports that at best, a missile could shatter a meteor into more pieces. The problem with this is that it just causes the impact to be more like a “shotgun blast.” Instead of one piece hurling toward Earth, now you have many pieces on their way if you shoot a missile at it.
The early-warning monitoring systems are “useless” against meteors. The meteors aren’t like a plane in flight, they orbit the sun just like the Earth. Occasionally the two orbits intersect, which causes the rocks to enter Earth’s atmosphere as a meteor hurling toward impact with the Earth, or flying by and missing the planet.
Weeden met with a United Nations team a few days ago in Vienna and they are working on a plan of defense against the space rocks colliding with Earth. They are working on something called a “Gravity Tractor.” This would entail launching a space ship to actually push the meteor off a collision track with the planet. While it sounds like something out of a Bruce Willis movie and it is untested, scientist believe it could work.