Russia eyes 'protection' against meteors

Feb. 20, 2013 at 8:10 PM

MOSCOW, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Russia says it will develop measures to protect the country and its citizens from falling meteorites like the one that exploded over the Urals last week.

The announcement comes days after a meteorite entered the Earth's atmosphere undetected by existing space-monitoring systems and exploded, creating a massive shock wave that blew out windows and damaged thousands of buildings around the city of Chelyabinsk, injuring 1,200 people in the area.

"None of the existing systems, either Russian or American, detected this space object until it entered the atmosphere," Boris Shustov, director of the Astronomy Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Wednesday.

The Russian Aerospace Defense Forces will develop a series of measures aimed at protecting against possible future threats, RIA Novosti reported.

"The Aerospace Defense Forces have been ordered to handle this issue and come up with a plan to protect Russia from these "space travelers,'" Maj. Gen. Igor Makushev, commander of the western military district's aviation arm, said.

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