New fears about cosmic hits after meteor goes undetected
Will Earth be so lucky next time?
- Duration 3:20
- Date Feb 18, 2013
Will Earth be so lucky next time?
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Under the microscope but last week's -- flew right under the radar of course you'll remember that us.
But it turns out that media there roughly the size of -- bus going undetected until it flew over that exploded.
Over roster now we got a lucky.
Doctor Ed -- says maybe next time we will not doctor.
What do you fear happening.
The fear is that the next one that hits us will also go undetected and and we won't.
He won't end up -- that high above the above the ground which -- -- blew up about thirty miles high and and it will be over a major city.
Now why can't we detect.
These sides tied.
You know events from space is that they're too small or they're too many or both -- want.
The -- you were not looking.
-- these smaller stores are difficult to find but we don't have a dedicated space telescope that's out there looking for them and that's what you really need to find them.
Telescopes on the ground can only see one way if it's coming from the direction of the sun like this one did.
They're not gonna see it right.
So you basically need to be on space looking back at Earth's orbit.
And that would find.
You know the great majority of asteroids that -- -- hit the -- and do -- decades and -- so that you're not just warning people to run away.
That we're gonna that we would have the opportunity.
To deflect it.
You don't do have that technology -- our doctor but it's is it.
We have been lucky -- way that that you know so many obstacles are very inside the -- the very small ones hit and felt our atmosphere all the time.
But it it doesn't take much to be a little larger than -- to get its you'll feel a little lower in the sky do explode.
To do some lasting damage.
Do you think we're -- to go through a period or does this stuff cycle and periods where we're that is a very distinct.
No it's a random occurrence and and the odds are not huge but they add up and so.
You don't know right now we don't know when the next major impact is going to be and we'd like to find out.
But you know it -- -- don't -- a lot of the ones that have been very noteworthy in the past like.
The one that it's -- -- ninety don't wait that it's Iberia -- populated regions and a lot of damage but had the same.
You know it meteor hit for example London I'm told that London would be gone.
So that when these things -- when they hit over largely on populated areas not all the time.
But that -- -- the mathematical odds of that continuing are smaller thing.
They eventually I almost told people we're play a game of cosmic roulette with the earth right and you almost as we win but.
You can't keep winning forever every gambler knows that and so our foundation to be six -- -- foundation is doing this.
Privately we are going to -- we are building a space telescope right now it's already begun construction will launch -- 2018.
To go find all these -- we're gonna put all that data online so that.
What when what the next one of these going to be happening.
Decades in advance so that we can deflect.
Even -- only speaking on my part here of those coming in the direction from the sun so that you can still detect yes all right.
Well from what our position in space will be of the season Johnson doctor thank you very very much of pleasure having him.
Thank you very much.