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Largest meteor in more than 100 years

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A meteor exploded over Russia sending a shockwave strong enough to break windows and injure hundreds of people in a remote area about 900 miles east of Moscow.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A meteor exploded over Russia sending a shock wave strong enough to break windows and injure hundreds of people in a remote area about 900 miles east of Moscow.

"They're video taping the huge streaking fire trail smoke trail and while they're video taping the smoke trail. The sonic boom the blast wave hits," said Clark Planetarium Director, Seth Jarvis.

Jarvis says the meteor was about the size of an SUV and it was traveling about 30,000 miles-per-hour. It's speed and size was enough to break the massive rock apart as it hit the earth's atmosphere.

"The possibility this could happen in Utah?" asked ABC 4's Noah Bond. "Anytime, this is so small that there's absolutely no way to see them before they get here," said Jarvis.

This isn't the case for the asteroid known as 2012 DA. It is about half the size of a football field. Scientists have developed technology, only in the last couple of years, to track this kind of threat.

"NASA is currently tracking nearly 1400 what they call potentially hazardous asteroids," Jarvis said.

The planet earth is perfectly safe from DA. It came within 17,200 miles of earth at 12:24 p.m. MST, but there are other threats.

Scientists are preparing for the possibility of an asteroid on a direct course for earth. "If you see it coming 30 years out and you can get it with enough equipment you can nudge the asteroid gently. You don't have to move it suddenly with a bomb. You move it slowly over a period of years and that's all it takes to avoid Armageddon," Jarvis said.

The next time DA will come within a million miles of earth is at least 100 years from now.



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