NASA administrator Jim Breedstein warned that the possibility of a deadly asteroid colliding on the ground is not something imaginary, but rather something that could happen.
"We have to make sure people realize that it's not about Hollywood, it's not about movies, it's about protecting the only planet we know now to host life, and this is the planet," he said at the 2019 Cosmic Defense Conference in Washington.
The meteorite, which caught fire through the Southern Ural Mountains in February 2013, was the largest recorded meteorite strike in more than a century, after the Tunguska event of 1908, 1,600 people were injured by the shock wave caused by the blast, which is estimated to have a capacity of 20 Hiroshima atomic bombs.
Although these types of events occur once every 60 years, however, Bernstein said it has occurred three times in the last 100 years.
"I wish to tell you that these events are unique, but they are not," he said, adding that the defense of the planets was no less important than NASA's other targets, such as the landing of humans on the moon.