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Astronomer urges people to prepare after meteor lit up the sky over BC

Last Updated Sep 9, 2017 at 8:50 am PDT

Possible meteorite that came down near Nelson (Source: Twitter @RafaelPern)
Summary

Meteor spotted on Monday night over parts of Alberta and BC

Many asteroids are being monitored right now, says local expert

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Following all the excitement over a meteor that lit up the sky over Alberta and BC earlier this week, a local astronomer says we are not prepared to defend ourselves against something like an asteroid or a large comet speeding toward our planet.

Derek Kief with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver says a whole bunch of near-Earth asteroids are being monitored right now, but we don’t have the ability to deflect them somewhere else.

He adds there are a lot of concepts he’d like to see tested. “You could bring a whole bunch of small objects and crash them into the side of the object pushing it out of the way. You could even spray paint half of the object and the heating from the sun, the asymmetrical heating on the sun of the object and how it will basically heat up parts of it and out-gassing parts of it could actually move it out of the way.”

While Kief acknowledges the chances of being hit by one are extremely slim, he argues it’s been a long time since the dinosaurs were wiped out, and we need to start seeing it as a real threat.

“If we can see them coming then we have a whole bunch of different techniques. We haven’t tried a bunch of them, but we have a whole bunch of techniques under kind of, proof of concept and concept mapping.”

The meteor earlier this week was spotted by people on Monday night in several parts of BC and Alberta.