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CNN NEWSROOM

Asteroid Comes Close to Earth; Hundreds Hurt in Meteor Explosion; Blade Runner Denies Model Murder

Aired February 15, 2013 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Happy Friday.

I woke up in Mobile, Alabama, talking to cruise ship passengers, and, right now, I am back at CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, because if you watch the show enough, you know I am a space geek. And we are minutes away from this fly-by that will make space history.

This is the first time an asteroid of this size will get this close to Earth. So watch the clock with me. I'm talking eastern time. It is supposed to happen at 2:25 p.m. to be precise. As we know, scientists are -- scientists say at this time, it will be no closer than 17,200 miles from Earth. I know, you hear 17,200. Yes, that is considered close. I know it sounds like a long way away, but in space terms, that's actually a razor thin distance.

And this video actually shows the asteroid. It's the bright white dot -- I know there are a couple on your screen but it's the main one that's kind of moving around right in the center. Up close, it's actually bigger than a space shuttle, just to put it in perspective for you, and it could enter the path of some satellites.

What won't happen, NASA assures us, is this asteroid -- and, oh, yes, it has a name. It's called DA-14. They say it will not hit Earth. Still, you cannot ignore the buzz around this out of this world event.

So we have this whole team of reporters for you and analysts to bring you this historic moment. We have a so-called -- an asteroid hunter, former astronaut, coming on live this hour and next to talk about really what will be a historic moment as 2012 DA-14 brushes by us earthlings. That will start just about 10 minutes from now.

So, right now, I want to go straight to Casey Wian. He is live in Pasadena, California, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. And I imagine the excitement is palpable. They're tracking the asteroid. Tell me where it is now.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is over Australia, Brooke. And they are very excited here at JPL. It's a very, very big day. They've been tracking this asteroid for nearly a year. Today is the day it's going to get closest -- the closest it's going to come to the earth. As you mentioned, 17,200 miles. And right now it is coming from the southern hemisphere. It's approaching the earth basically from the South Pole and it is being tracked as we speak by observation -- observatories in Australia. It is moving at an incredible rate. I don't know if you can see that picture, if you're showing it now, but it doesn't look like it's moving that fast, but it's actually moving at 4.8 miles per second. And as you mentioned, 150 feet across. This thing carries a very, very powerful punch.

BALDWIN: Here's the picture.

WIAN: Fortunately, according to NASA, that punch is going to miss the earth. But it could, there's a microscopic chance, that it could threaten some of those satellites that are orbiting the earth, Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK, Casey, we're going to come back to you there at JPL. And as we continue to track this, keep in mind, we're going to have special coverage of this asteroid coming up in a matter of minutes. As we mentioned, the magic number, 2:25, 2:25 p.m.

So, now, Casey, thank you.

Now to a completely different space incident happening in Russia where you had fireballs streaking across the skyline, crashing to earth after this meteor explodes as it enters our atmosphere. The shockwave from that sonic boom shattered windows. Look at the pictures. Threw people under desks. Buckled buildings. Injured at least a thousand people. Chad Myers is here.

And just so I'm, first of all, crystal clear, because my first thought was, well, this is odd. We're talking about this asteroid basically shaving --

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes.

BALDWIN: You know, buzzing past earth and now this meteor. Totally unrelated.

MYERS: Completely unrelated. One coming in from the south. This came in from the north. Completely different paths.

BALDWIN: OK.

MYERS: It just happened to happen on the same day.

BALDWIN: That's kind of odd.

MYERS: It really is odd.

BALDWIN: Do, do, do, do.

MYERS: I know.

BALDWIN: OK. Anyway, so the difference is between an asteroid and a meteor is --

MYERS: That it's an asteroid when it hits the earth's atmosphere it turns into a meteorite or a meteor. And when it hits the ground, it's a meteorite. So, in fact, an asteroid is just sitting out there waiting to hit the earth. So it's -- really this thing was an asteroid. Then it turns into a meteoroid when it's going to approach and get into the earth's atmosphere.

BALDWIN: Asteroid, meteor, meteorite.

MYERS: Then -- then it's a meteor. Then it's a meteorite if it hits the ground. I know. It was a -- it's called a -- and just one more term --

BALDWIN: Yes.

MYERS: A boloid.

BALDWIN: Boloid. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

MYERS: A boloid means that it's going to explosion. And the explosion caused this shockwave, caused the sonic boom, caused all this damage. It was the explosion.

BALDWIN: So, thus the question, what is the catalyst for the explosion?

MYERS: Heat. Probably 44,000 degrees when this thing finally decided to explode.

BALDWIN: As it's careening through the atmosphere?

MYERS: It was streaking across the atmosphere, heating up, a lot like the shuttle does or, you know, the Apollo astronauts with the heat shield. This didn't have a heat shield. It got so hot that it exploded in -- right over -- right over Russia and all of this. You can see -- you can see the sparks and you could -- oh, you could see the smoke. It looked like a jet contrail. It was amazing. The problem is, it hurt or injured 1,000 people --

BALDWIN: Yes.

MYERS: In a remote part of the world. If we can imagine what that may have done over a big city, certainly the number would have been much higher than 1,000.

BALDWIN: OK. Chad Myers, thank you.

Meantime, are you excited about this asteroid? Why are you looking at me with a straight face?

MYERS: Do I look -- yes, I don't know.

BALDWIN: Oh, my goodness. No excitement from my --

MYERS: It's this tiny little speck. It's going to fly on by. It's going to miss us.

BALDWIN: Chad. All right. Well, we're going to talk about this tiny little speck here in this -- it's history in the making, apparently, Chad Myers. We're going to chat about that momentarily. MYERS: Our history. You know, not compared to the world. You said this is the closest asteroid that ever came to the earth.

BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE) 40 years.

MYERS: Oh, in 40 years. OK.

BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE).

MYERS: Because what about the one that actually hit the earth? That was a lot closer.

BALDWIN: One in -- I think it's one in 1,200 chances that it would actually do that. We've got all kinds of facts and figures for you.

MYERS: All right. OK.

BALDWIN: It's kind of fascinating to some of us.

MYERS: I've got (INAUDIBLE).

BALDWIN: Chad, thank you. You'll be back.

Let me move on and talk about this story. The man known as "Blade Runner" breaking down in court. Oscar Pistorius is charged with the Valentine's Day shooting of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Her uncle breaking the family silence over her death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE STEENKAMP, REEVA STEENKAMP'S UNCLE: Well, such a devastating shock that her whole life, what she could achieve, never came to fulfillment. And I'll just she's with the angels and that's about all I can say to you folks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Now, take a look at this photo. This is surfacing on his Twitter page. Pistorius spending an afternoon at the shooting range. The double amputee rose to international fame when he ran on carbon fiber blades just this past summer in London at the Olympics. He's seen as the humble hero in South Africa. His girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, was a law school graduate who recently appeared on the cover of the men's magazine "FHM."

And I want to bring in CNN International's Errol Barnett. He's live in Johannesburg.

Errol, what is the prosecution's case against him and how are his lawyers responding?

ERROL BARNETT, CNN INTERNATIONAL: Well, I tell you, Brooke, you know, the world welcomed this news with surprise on Valentine's Day when you hear that there was an incident where someone was killed at the home of such a sports star. But Friday, in court, what we saw was -- we were even more surprised by the confidence by the prosecutors that they cannot only convict Oscar Pistorius on a murder charge, but they are going to levy against him a premeditated murder charge. They feel that the evidence they have, at this very early stage of the investigation, keep in mind it's fewer than 48 hours since this happened, that it shows Oscar Pistorius purposefully killed his 29- year-old model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

The only other thing to take place today in court was that both the prosecuting and defending teams agreed to postpone the proceedings until Tuesday. So Oscar Pistorius will remain in jail until then. He did issue a statement through his lawyer saying that they reject completely this murder charge in the strongest terms. So absolutely tragic and it just seems to be getting worse as you hear more information.

BALDWIN: Errol, just in trying to read a little bit more about who this young woman was, I read a quote, she was self-described as brainy, a brainy blonde bombshell. What more do we know about her?

BARNETT: Yes. Brooke, this is the most heartbreaking aspect of this story. Reeva Steenkamp was 29 years old, a law school graduate, had already graced as a bikini model the covers of the men's magazines here, and was set to star in a reality show that will premiere tomorrow. Her tweets speak out against violence towards women. It's been reported that she was possibly going to speak at a local university in support of women's rights.

The painful twist that happened recently is that the production team behind her reality program is still going ahead with plans to air it.

BALDWIN: Wow.

BARNETT: So the Steenkamp family are not only grieving with this tragedy, but for the next few weeks they'll have to watch their daughter on this reality program starting tomorrow.

BALDWIN: Wow. What about, Errol, what do we know about the relationship between Pistorius and Steenkamp, because police say there were allegations of a domestic nature at this home.

BARNETT: And those are just allegations at this point. What we know is that these two have been romantically linked at least since November when they were photographed together. Neighbors were the ones who called the police because they heard a disturbance. And police have confirmed they were called to Oscar Pistorius' home before for issues of a domestic nature. Doesn't necessarily prove anything, but it certainly does raise the question, what was going on in this young man's life?

He was a global superstar. Twenty-six years old. Multimillion dollar sponsorship deals. What was happening in his personal life? There's not a lot of information we know about that. There was no indication that anything was wrong. So it certainly adds to the shock and surprise everyone feels with the news of the death -- the violent death of such a beautiful young woman.

BALDWIN: Errol Barnett for us in Johannesburg. Errol, thank you. And now some of the hottest stories in a flash. Roll it.

Thousands of weary travelers heading home today after five long days of hell on board that stricken Carnival Cruise ship called the Triumph. But believe it or not, some of them hit another roadblock on their way home. One bus carrying some of these passengers to New Orleans actually broke down early this morning, leaving them stranded once again, this time on the side of a highway.

And just this morning, I mentioned I was in Mobile, Alabama, standing right in front of Triumph and I talked to a couple of ladies, one woman set to get married. This was supposed to be her big bachelorette party. And here is how she told me she felt about having a redo of said bachelorette party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Is there a bachelorette do over party in your future?

CHRYSTALL RODERICK, WAS STRANDED ON THE CARNIVAL TRIUMPH: I would say yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it won't be on a boat.

BALDWIN: It won't be on a boat.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

BALDWIN: Will you ever be on a boat again?

RODERICK: Probably not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Probably not, she says. That feeling may be widespread among many of those passengers now finally off that ship.

The Chicago Crime Commission has named a new public enemy number one. And he doesn't even live in the United States. Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman inherits the title first given to Al Capone. Agents say Guzman's cartel is the major supplier of narcotics in the city of Chicago. Guzman escaped from prison in 2001. "Forbes" estimates his worth at $1 billion.

The former mayor of San Diego admits to gambling away more than $1 billion, including millions from her late husband's foundation. Maureen O'Connor was married to the founder of the Jack-In-The-Box hamburger chain here. She reached a deal yesterday to avoid prosecution. Her attorney says a brain tumor contributed to her lapse in judgment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWD (singing): Mike, if I could be like Mike. I want to be like Mike. Like Mike. If I could be like Mike.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Memories. Remember this Gatorade commercial? Michael Jordan turns 50 Sunday. There is no doubt many, many basketball players still want to be like Mike. They want to be the -- like the six-time NBA champ. Has a lot to be thankful for, of course, at 50 years young, like his popular shoe, most people still call them Js, still the hottest sneaker out there. He also stays busy as the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. And may I mention, he attended a fine institution, that is UNC Chapel Hill. Go Heels.

Coming up next, the moment everyone's been talking about. This asteroid, minutes away from its closest point to earth. We have reporters, we have experts standing by, even a real life asteroid hunter, he's a former astronaut, and a 3-D show of what to expect. Folks, it's a space geeks Super Bowl live on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: You know, each and every minute that passes brings us closer to a moment scientists and perhaps some of us as well have been anticipating. Scientists specifically for the last year here. Because this is when a group of astronomers in Spain discovered this asteroid, make sure you know the name of the asteroid, it's very specific. It's called 2012 DA-14. Why? I don't know. We'll ask.

Meantime, it's the largest asteroid actually ever known to get this close to earth. It's supposed to brush past us, checking my clock, in exactly 10 minutes at 2:25 p.m. Eastern. Our special coverage begins right now. We will bring you NASA's teams tracking this asteroid from JPL in Pasadena, California. We also have folks at a New York planetarium. And we have meteorologist Chad Myers all joining in to talk about this.

So, let's begin, though, with Tom Foreman, because he is sort of our go-to 3-D guy apparently.

Tom Foreman, tell me -- tell me what this asteroid really looks like.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, to understand what it really looks like, I think you have to understand also where it is. You've been talking so much about how it's one of the closest encounters we've ever had. The closest for this size thing. So let's get some reference points on it.

If we think about our earth here floating in space, many of us often think about the moon as if that's something that is close to us. It's not really that close. The moon is actually about a quarter million miles away.

So what really is close to us, Brooke? Well, satellites are close. Lots of them. This is sort of a scale of where the satellite bands are around our earth. The furthest ones are about 22,000 miles out there.

And where is this thing going to come from? This asteroid is going to come sweeping out here and go through the satellite band. Let me give you a different angle here so you can see exactly how close we're talking about.

BALDWIN: OK.

FOREMAN: It's going to be about 17,000 miles away from the earth. So that's pretty close. Within the satellite band. Will it hit any of the satellites? No.

BALDWIN: It sounds really far.

FOREMAN: Yes, it does.

BALDWIN: It sounds really far, but not really?

FOREMAN: Not really. That's close in cosmos terms. And it's not going to hit any of these satellites, by the way. They could, I suppose, but I guess I could drop a marble from the Empire State Building and make it land in a Dixie Cup. That also is not likely to happen.

BALDWIN: Right.

FOREMAN: But it's close enough that it really has attracted a lot of attention. But here's the important thing. Think about the size of it. We just talked about the earth and the moon and the relationship with them. Let me come in here and show you a little bit more about this. Now you mentioned 2012 DA-14. A very lyrical, spacey name. I don't know. It's about 50 yards long --

BALDWIN: I don't know how they come up with this stuff.

FOREMAN: Close -- this pushing 18,000 miles an hour, Brooke. That's really cooking through space. Not uncommon for space, but for all of us on earth, it seems incredibly fast. And if it were to hit earth, if it could hit earth, it would basically explode with the force of more than 2 million tons of dynamite, which sounds really, really huge and it would, in fact, wipe out an area of several hundred miles in all directions, but it would not be a cataclysmic earth ending event, even if we were hit by something this big, but it would be something we'd certainly take note of.

Brooke.

BALDWIN: Well, I'm glad that 2 million tons of dynamite is not hitting earth at all. Apparently that happens one in every 1,200 years. So we're going to skip that for now. But, Tom Foreman, I appreciate the 3-D illustration just to sort of put this in perspective size wise on all these different numbers.

As this asteroid here is hurdling towards us here on earth, only people, sorry, only people in eastern Europe, Australia, and Asia won't need some sort of major equipment, some sort of, you know, telescope, telephoto lens to see this historic space moment. And it's a moment, no doubt, that the experts at Hayden Planetarium in New York are savoring. And that is where CNN's Jason Carroll is live. It's the planetarium. Part of New York's Museum of Natural History.

Tell me how excited they are. JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, you know, I mean this is one of those rare events. I do want to bring something up, though. When we talk about this type of event happening, you know, it actually did happen before, back in 1908. Of course, the outcome was much different. That -- in that case, the asteroid and/or comet actually struck the planet. It was in, of all places, Siberia. It happened in 1908. And it apparently exploded above the surface of the planet. But, still, even though it did that, it wiped out 825 square miles of forest. So think about that. So in terms of danger, I mean, I think that's why scientists are watching this event so very closely.

I'll going to bring in one scientist right now, Dr. Denton Ebel.

DENTON EBEL, METEORITES CURATOR, AMER. MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY: Hello.

CARROLL: He's curator of meteorites, like the meteorite you see behind me here.

Obviously you've been looking at this situation very closely at least for the past year.

EBEL: Well, really only for the past week because we actually -- it was discovered as a thing that was near the earth in February of 2012.

CARROLL: Right.

EBEL: But it was only in the last few weeks that it really became apparent that it was -- where it was actually going to go because we got much better data on its trajectory.

CARROLL: And that brings us to the next point. And now Brooke is a space geek like I am, so we talk about this and study things like this. But that's pretty scary because when you think about trying to deflect something like this --

EBEL: Right.

CARROLL: We wouldn't have the technology in place right now to deflect an asteroid if it were to hit the planet and we found out a week out, two weeks out, even a year out.

EBEL: That's correct. We don't -- we have some capabilities, but we don't have big time capabilities to deflect something. Even something small like this. However, we do know where a lot of things are that are really dangerous. This one, as you said, Tunguska is the touchstone for an air burst which this would be if it hit the earth's atmosphere, it would explode above the ground somewhere. And --

CARROLL: Like what was seen in 1908?

EBEL: Yes.

CARROLL: And, you know, we don't have the capability. But, you know, I think the question -- it begs the question, why don't we? I mean, I'm wondering if scientists, NASA, the government, wherever the government may be, whether it's here in the United States or in Europe or in China will look at this particular event and start to change things.

EBEL: Well, would you like some other government to decide to do something about this on their own?

CARROLL: I just want someone to do something about it if it's going to -- if it's going to happen.

EBEL: Well, this one isn't going to hit us.

CARROLL: Right.

EBEL: And it's not even going to hit our satellites, which is great, also.

CARROLL: Right.

EBEL: But you're right, we need to have -- to think about this as a globe, as a civilization, as humanity itself, because I think it's beyond the capabilities of any single nation at this time to mount planetary protection. It's a lot of work.

CARROLL: Well, it's something we definitely need to be thinking about.

We were also -- we were also talking about, you know, how this particular asteroid, what it's made up of.

EBEL: Right.

CARROLL: This meteorite that we see behind us is dense. It's made up of ore. But the thinking is, this one, as you'll be able to watch it tumbling past the planet, might be a little bit more porous?

EBEL: Well, most of the asteroids that we've flown by with our spacecraft are porous, rubble piles of stony (ph) material. Actually, only about 4 percent of rocks that come to earth as meteorites are irons, which is a small percentage. Most of them are stony meteorites. And they come, presumably, from these porous asteroidal bodies. But, of course, something that's really porous and poorly held together won't make it through the earth's atmosphere very well. So it's a mixture. The ones we have in our collections tend to be the chunks of rock that are tougher.

CARROLL: So now we're just a few minutes away as we -- as we look at some of the feeds coming into us now --

EBEL: Oh, yes.

CARROLL: And some of the animation that we look at as well, looking down now at 2:36:35 as we get a countdown. That's the animation that we've been using. Look accurate to you?

EBEL: It's -- well, we don't know the shape of the asteroid yet, but we may get it from radar as it goes by. We will train gold stone radar in California, and the UK will train their radar arrays on this object. And they can model the shape by the way different parts reflect radar and Doppler shifts and so forth. And we've done this actually using bigger radar, the Aracebo (ph) antenna, actually on asteroids as far away as the asteroid belt itself.

CARROLL: And, you know, there's also this theory about, OK, let's just say it -- what could you do to try to deflect one of these asteroids from hitting the planet?

EBEL: Sure.

CARROLL: I mean there's several choices, right? But I guess we're going to get into that a little bit now as we come down to --

EBEL: Well, I like deflection if we know it far enough in advance. And, actually, what we have done as a civilization is enabled people and people across the globe are actually finding these things.

CARROLL: OK. Very good.

BALDWIN: Jason, let me jump in.

CARROLL: We're going to throw it back to you, Brooke, as we're now just a minute away.

BALDWIN: Yes, we are encroaching upon -- thanks to you and Denton Ebel. We'll come back to you. But we're coming upon this point 2:24, 2:25. That's the point in which this asteroid will be the closest to earth. Let's just eavesdrop. Let's listen in on NASA TV.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This asteroid for a long time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how will you use the information that Lance was talking about? The information that the radar can give us?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lance's information is very helpful in computing the orbit. We will have essentially nailed the orbit of this to -- it will be one of best in our catalog. It's that accurate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. We are 50 seconds away, 49, the clock is counting down. And at that point, in just a few seconds, that is the closest point that DA-14 will be to our planet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To our planet, in centuries, probably, as far as we know. So it's a -- it's a remarkable moment as it passes by and then it will be headed out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And watching the counter on the left, the distance to earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's going to go through about 17,200 some miles. That's as close as it will get and then it will start heading out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's at the point where folks in Europe, and then finally North America, as it's heading out, is about the time that we'll be able to see it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's going from the far south, now it's over the equator, and it will be heading straight north and going essentially near the North Pole. So now we will have the polars (ph) in the sky and we'll have a chance to see it from the northern hemisphere now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. The counter is zero. It has passed closest approach and this asteroid is going away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's on its way out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has been here, done that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But throughout the day it will be observed by observatories around the world and we'll get a lot of good information on spectral type, chemical composition possibly, spectrum of it and the radar data will give us essential information on the shape and size and the rotation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's very interesting is how much information you're getting from hobbyists, from amateurs, as though the more eyes are always better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. It's a worldwide effort. And astronomers around the world send in data on these asteroids and they're all collected and all used in a combined solution to figure out its orbit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. So what's next --

BALDWIN: So, and there it went. We hit 2:25. It was a major, major moment in space history. Maybe you're sitting there thinking, OK, didn't see anything, didn't hear anything. Why is this such a big deal?

Ed Lu, I want to bring you in. Astronaut Ed Lu. Asteroid hunter Ed Lu. Help me understand, because from what I can tell, you're saying, look, this is a wake-up call. This is very, very serious. What kind of threats do asteroids provide?

ED LU, ASTROPHYSICIST & FORMER ASTRONAUT: Asteroids are a threat because they sometimes hit the earth, as happened last night in Siberia. And 2012 DA-14 is, as you said, a wake-up call. These things are out there. The risk is small on any given day, but eventually, if you play the odds long enough, we're going to get hit again. And the B-612 Foundation realized that we don't have to sit there and take it. We can actually do something about that. There's a lot of misinformation out there that people that believe that you cannot deflect these asteroids. You can. But only if you have decades of notice. If you have a short notice like we have for 2012 DA-14, not a lot you can do. We would have been just evacuating an area if this one was to have hit, which it obviously didn't.

BALDWIN: Let me -- let me just back up.

LU: But the next one --

BALDWIN: Can I just back up, Ed? Here's my question. Where does an asteroid come from now that it's. you know, whizzed past us. Where does it go? LU: Well, these things are orbiting the sun. The asteroids going around the sun just like the earth. So they go round and round and round. And some of these asteroids, their orbits actually intersect earth's orbit. That means some day there's going to be a collision because their paths cross. It's like those old demolition derbies you may have seen at county fairs --

BALDWIN: Yes.

LU: With the two cars going around different tracks. If they show up at the same place at the same time, there's an impact. But we can predict those ahead of time if we put a space telescope out into space and just map the locations of all this. We can do that.

BALDWIN: Do we have a space telescope? Is that part of why you're an asteroid hunter because you want to raise awareness, you want to make sure we aren't on some collision course, we aren't like those cars that you were describing? I mean, what do we do?

LU: Well, we are building a space telescope and is launching in 2018. So, the pieces are coming together right now. The beginning parts of it are being produced in Boulder, Colorado. But the B-612 Foundation is doing this as a private organization because we realized that you could -- we could actually do it. And there was two things we could have done. We could have waited around, worried about why isn't somebody doing something about this, or we could just do it ourselves. And we've assembled a team and we have gathered supporters and we're making it happen.

BALDWIN: Ed, we were talking earlier, and I want to bring Chad Myers in as well, our meteorologist. And Chad and I were talking earlier about this meteor, right, which is different from an asteroid. This meteor over Russia that, you know, sort of rained down on all these people, injured about a thousand people. I mean is it really merely a coincidence that these two things happened on the same day, they're not at all related?

LU: It sure seems to be. It came from a different direction. And it came many hours before 2012 DA-14. So it doesn't appear to be related. And yet another sort of warning to us that, hey, you know what, these things do hit the earth. And, you know, the next one that hits may not be so small.

BALDWIN: OK. Ed Lu, stand by for me. I want to bring Tom Foreman back in for more of an explainer on again what this looks like.

Tom, what do you have?

FOREMAN: Well, you know, what you're talking about there, Brooke, we're talking about the impact of these things. This is something that's worth talking about. If you've ever been out to Arizona, to Flagstaff, there's a big place out there called the meteor crater. I want to talk about that in a moment.

But, first of all, think about where this thing hit. It hit up here in Russia. And a lot of people have been asking, how do we know it's not connected to the asteroid that just passed minutes ago. This meteor, meteorite depending on which way you want to describe the impact on the earth. And, in fact, the reason we know is because the way it hit. This hit up here. The one that just passed us, or is passing us as we speak, is it will still be in the earth/moon system for some time now, but basically under the earth here and came sweeping by. Simply the direction it went suggested that it's not coming from the same direction. So that's one of the reasons we know.