TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A few hours ago, an asteroid half the size of a football field passed within 17,000 miles of earth.
Within the last 24 hours, a meteor exploded over a Russian city, injuring hundreds., but could something like that happen in our own back yard?
Like a scene in a movie, thousands of eyes in the Russian city of Chelyabinsk saw this cosmic rock rip through the atmosphere, and then a doomsday-like explosion.
The sonic blast injured thousands of people.
Less than 24 hours later, an asteroid breezes between the earth and our satellites.
"The fact that these two things happened so close together is coincidence..." said Dr Rick Ditteon, Rose-Hulman’s observatory director.
Dr. Ditteon spends most days with his eyes to the sky.
He explained to us that an asteroid is what you call it when it's still a rock traveling through space.
It becomes a meteor when it enters our atmosphere and what hit the ground intact in Russia is a meteorite.
That sight doesn't happen often
"The last time we had something do damage like the one in Russia was in 1908 and again it was in Russia. Where something hit and it was much more powerful, it was actually in Siberia and no witnesses..." said Dr. Ditteon.
So what are the odds of a scene like this happening on say, Wabash Avenue in Terre Haute?
"The land area that humans actually occupy like cities, is quite small compared to the surface area of the earth. So, the chances of hitting over a city which is what happened is actually fairly small." said Dr. Ditteon.
However, it's that fear that has Ditteon and other researchers on alert, looking at asteroids millions of miles away to make sure the mass destruction image frequent movies and do not become a part of our reality.
The majority of meteors burn up in the atmosphere, or they break into pieces before hitting the Earth, causing significantly less damage that what Russia saw.