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China Concurs ’We Need New Technology Development To Detect’ and Protect Against Space Objects

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(LPAC)—China was among the nine nations that put together a team of 59 scientists to study studying the Chelyabinsk object, the 60-foot-wide space rock traveling 43,000 miles per hour—60 times the speed of sound—as it ripped into Earth’s atmosphere above Chelyabinsk, Russia and exploded with the force of half a million tons of TNT. Their group released their findings on Wednesday.

"We need new technology development to detect more of these kind of object through a systematic survey," said Yin Qingzhu, a UC-Davis geology professor, to China Daily on Wednesday. "If humanity does not want to go the way of the dinosaurs, we need to study an event like this in detail."

Zhou Qin, a researcher at the national astronomical observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told China Daily that the event was the largest airburst on Earth since 1908, when a meteorite perhaps three times the size of Chelyabinsk exploded over Siberia with a force estimated at 15 million tons of TNT, flattening millions of trees for miles around. "It is an opportunity not only to study the impact of the event itself, but also to evaluate the hazard of the near-Earth objects. So, this was attractive for all of the international researchers," Zhou said. (ron)